Despite its pristine reputation, threats to Vermont’s environment and public health persist. VPIRG’s environmental health program focuses on two major issues – toxic chemicals in everyday products and the unsustainable way we manage waste.
Reducing Exposure to Toxic Chemicals
Thousands of toxic or untested chemicals are used in products we use every day in our homes, schools, and workplaces. These toxins are building up in our bodies and are contributing to alarming trends in public health, including increased rates of birth defects, developmental disabilities, reproductive disorders, cancers, and more. VPIRG supports federal and state legislation that will get known toxins out of consumer products, and require health and safety testing before chemicals make it into products on our store shelves. To learn more about our chemical reform work, visit our Campaign for Toxic-Free Kids page.
Getting to Zero Waste
Vermonters continue to send the majority of our used materials to the landfill, which is both unsustainable and a waste of valuable resources. Recycling rates in Vermont have stagnated at about 36%. At the heart of this problem lies a cradle-to-grave approach where products are made, consumed, and discarded. VPIRG believes that Vermont should break from this mold by embracing an ambitious “zero waste” program that strives to eliminate waste, rather than simply manage it. To achieve this vision, Vermont will need to use a range of strategies to tackle different types of materials, including, among others, extended producer responsibility and increased access to recycling and composting.
Click here to learn more about our campaign to expand the Bottle Bill, Vermont’s most successful recycling and litter reduction program.
Thousands of untested chemicals are used in our homes, schools, food and work places every day. We need a better chemical regulatory system so we can all have confidence that the products in our homes and on our store shelves are healthy and safe.
Take a stand to protect your family from toxic chemicals by signing this petition today!Take Action
Firefighters, parents, public health advocates, and legislators gathered at the State House today to call on the legislature to pass a bill (S.81) to expand the state’s 2009 ban on toxic flame retardant chemicals. These chemicals are widely used in baby products and furniture, but are linked to cancer, neurotoxicity, reproductive harm, and other negative health impacts. Further, studies show they don’t actually protect us from fires.Continue reading »