The sobering reality is that toxic chemicals have become a fact of life for the modern era. Here are some other interesting facts parents should know:

Toxic chemical fact #1:
Americans are especially toxic
Americans have 10-times more chemicals in their body than people throughout the European Union, which bans many of the harmful chemicals we are routinely exposed to . (Szabo, 5-5-2011)

Toxic chemical fact #2:
The world is becoming ever more toxic
This is more than a personal safety issue, it is a global issue. As more and more chemicals and toxic byproducts from industry expand into every nook and cranny of the Earth, everything around us is becoming more toxic. As Dr. Caroline Myss, Ph.D., states, “We can no longer afford to underestimate the significance, both literally and symbolically, of the fact that all of the essential elements for life – ALL LIFE – have become toxic.” (Myss & Shealy, 1993, p. 372)

Toxic chemical fact #3:
Americans living near toxic waste sites
Nearly 1 in 6 Americans lives within 3 miles of a major hazardous waste site, though few people know where it is. (Voosen, 2014) There are also more than 1,700 areas declared as “Superfund” sites across the U.S., which are areas determined to be highly toxic by the Environmental Protection Agency and in need of containment.

Toxic chemical fact #4:
Children are more susceptible to toxic chemicals
It’s believed that children accumulate as much as half of their lifetime cancer risk by age two as a result of early chemical exposure. (EPA, 2005) Kids are more vulnerable to the effects of toxic chemicals because they get a much higher dose per pound of body weight than adults do, and their still-developing bodies are more susceptible to damage.

Toxic chemical fact #5:
Toxic schools
Approximately 20,000 schools in the United States, or around one in six, are located within half-a-mile of a major industrial plant. (Morrison, Heath & Jervis, 2008)

Toxic chemical fact #6:
The pollution in your home
Because most homes are well insulated but poorly ventilated, indoor air is actually three-times as polluted as outdoor air, according to pediatrician Maida Galvez, an environmental health specialist at New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

Additional facts about toxic chemicals

  1. The chemical industry is the largest manufacturing sector in the S., with revenues of $689 billion in 2008. (Shabecoff & Shabecoff, 2010, p. 40)
  2. Oil serves as the base for 90% of the chemicals in use today. (ibid)


Statistics on Chemicals & Toxins

The following statistics on toxic chemicals will give you a better idea of the scope of the chemical problem in modern society.

Statistic #1: As of 2011, more than 30 million metric tons of chemicals were either being produced or imported to the United States each and every day. To put this number in perspective, that’s the equivalent of a line of tanker trucks 10,000 miles long. (Ehrenberg, 3-36-2011)

Statistic #2: In addition to what’s used domestically, the United States exports millions of pounds of toxic chemicals to the rest of the world. (Colburn, Dumanoski & Myers, 1996)

Statistic #3: The U.S. chemicals business alone is comprised of 30+ industries producing 70,000+ distinct products in more than 12,000 factories. (Hawken, Lovins & Hunter-Lovins, 1999, p. 64)

Statistic #4: Just between 2002 and 2005, the amount of chemicals produced or imported into the United States rose from 15 trillion pounds in 2002 to 27 trillion pounds in 2005. (Shabecoff & Shabecoff, 2010, p. 254)

Statistic #5: The number of synthetic chemicals used for commercial purposes has been doubling roughly every 7-8 years. (Needleman & Landigran, 1994, p. 55)

Statistic #6: 95% of all new chemical submissions are submitted under confidentiality clauses, ostensibly to protect their patent. Unfortunately, this also serves as a major barrier that prevents outside groups from assessing a chemical’s health risks or conducting independent safety research. (Scientific American, 2010)

Statistic #7: A study in Environmental Science and Technology found that more than half of all couches in the United States contain a potentially toxic flame retardant. Of the 102 couches tested, 41% had foam containing chlorinated Tris, a probable human carcinogen that was removed from baby pajamas in 1977. Seventeen-percent contained the chemical penta BDE, which has now been globally banned. Most of the couches (85%) were treated with some kind of untested or potentially toxic flame retardant. (Koch, 11-28-2012)

Statistic #8: In the course of normal grooming, the average woman puts 515 synthetic chemicals on her body each day.

Statistic #9: Roughly 85% of all toxic landfills in the United States are in lower-income minority neighborhoods. (Aeschliman, 2008)

Statistics on deaths from toxic pollution

Statistic #1: Worldwide, around 7 million people die each year because of air pollution – about 1 in 8 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. (Gardner & Szabo, 12-8-2015) This is more than the number of deaths caused from car accidents, rivers, suicides, and war combined. (Rodrick, 2017)

Statistic #2: It’s estimated that the toxic emissions from just one coal fired power plant are singlehandedly responsible for 15 premature deaths and 20 hospitalizations each year. (Walsh, 11-21-2011)

Statistic #3: The World Health Organization has found that almost 2 million people die each year from the toxic effects of indoor smoke – such as that from burning coal, wood, or dung for heat and cooking. (Engber, 2013)

Statistics on toxic chemicals in the environment

Statistic #1: It’s now estimated that 90% of cities in China rely on polluted groundwater. (Stephens, 2013)

Statistic #2: In a sign of the times, a government test that pulled fish from nearly 300 different streams in the U.S. found that each and every one of them were contaminated with some level of mercury, and 27% of samples had mercury levels high enough to exceed EPA guidelines. (Weise, 8-20-2009)

Statistic #3: Humans place 300-times more lead in the environment than can dissipate naturally, 23 times more zinc, and 38 times more antimony. (Hawken, Lovins & Hunter-Lovins, 1999, p. 315)

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