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Everyday Products Are Filled With Toxins -- And We're Not Doing a Thing About It

U.S. consumers are exposed to a vast array of harmful chemicals and additives in toys, cosmetics, plastic water bottles and countless other products.

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That is where the EU comes in, with its expansive and world-leading regulatory system in place (called "REACH," for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and restriction of CHemical substances). Schapiro notes, "The European-led revolution in chemical regulation requires that thousands of chemicals finally be assessed for their potentially toxic effects on human beings and signals the end of American industry's ability to withhold critical data from the public."

Tough regulations on toxins are not only essential to saving lives; they also make good business sense. The U.S. now has an opportunity to catch up to our European partners -- and make changes that are more than just cosmetic.

Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.

Amy Goodman is the host of the nationally syndicated radio news program, Democracy Now!

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