Chemical production has increased dramatically in the U.S. over the past 40 years. And for decades, the chemical industry was subject to little government oversight.
We’re now leveraging that law and others in our ongoing fight to protect communities and workers from toxic exposures, and remove hazardous, dangerous products from our daily lives.
- We protect people’s health by pushing for strong rules to protect workers, children, and communities from pesticides and other toxic chemicals. And we challenge rules that don’t live up to the government’s obligation to keep us all safe.
- We fight to get toxic chemicals out of consumer products, and keep chemicals that poison communities and our planet off the market altogether by taking the government to court when it approves chemicals for use without fully evaluating their harms.
- We’re cleaning up contamination in our environment and communities, such as from exposure to lead and “forever” chemicals known as PFAS, by going to court to ensure the government follows the law.
Every day, millions of people across the country are exposed to food and drinking water contaminated with toxic chemicals known as PFAS. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced long-overdue timelines for curtailing PFAS pollution. How you can help.
Lax chemical regulations have led to widespread harm.
Each year, 30,000 pounds of industrial chemicals are produced for each person in the United States, and babies are born with hundreds of industrial chemicals found in their bodies.
The growing exposure to chemicals is linked to increased rates of cancer, brain damage, and declining fertility.
Learn about Earthjustice’s litigation work that successfully protected workers and consumers from some of the most dangerous pesticides, such as chlorpyrifos, vinclozolin, and methyl iodide, and our ongoing work to mitigate human and environmental exposure to all organophosphate pesticides.
Highly polluted communities, and workers and children are most vulnerable to harm.
The health effects of toxic chemicals disproportionately impact communities near industrial facilities where these chemicals are manufactured.
One such place is Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley,” a petrochemical hub where residents of this predominantly Black community are more than 50 times more likely to get cancer than the average American.
Children are especially vulnerable, because their brains and bodies are still developing and because they drink, eat, and breathe more for their weight in comparison to adults, exposing them to greater environmental risks.
That’s why we work to protect people at all parts of the chemical supply chain: when chemicals are produced, used, and disposed of.
Our key strategies include:
- Ensuring the government enforces its chemicals and pesticides laws. The health risks of all chemicals must be fully evaluated to keep toxic chemicals out of our homes, schools, and workplaces, as well as out of our air and water.
- Strengthening existing chemical laws. As a result of successful litigation brought by Earthjustice on behalf of our clients, the law now requires regulators to consider the full range of ways that people may be exposed to harmful chemicals when deciding whether to allow that chemical to remain on the market. In addition, as a result of a series of lawsuits and more than a decade of advocacy, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now required to set lead hazard standards that are truly health-based.
- Partnering with communities to clean up chemical contamination. We are fighting in court to hold the chemical industry accountable for its legacy of pollution, including working towards meaningful regulations that ensure that communities know when PFAS are released near where they live, work, or go to school; medical monitoring for communities exposed to high levels of PFAS; prohibition of incineration of PFAS waste unless careful environmental review concludes that it is safe; and stopping the approval of new PFAS compounds.
- Suing to force chemical companies to disclose health and safety information about the chemicals they produce. We go to court to challenge policies that permit illegal secrecy, and we expose the hidden health risks of chemicals, an important step to make sure the government enforces its laws.
Learn more about this work through our Toxic Exposure & Health Program, Sustainable Food & Farming Program, and Policy and Legislation Team, our regionally-based work in the Florida Office, Mid-Pacific Office, Midwest Office, Northwest Office, and more.