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Why Do American Companies Sell Environmentally Unsafe Products Banned in Other Countries?

As other countries toughen their environmental laws, many products containing those highly regulated (or banned) and toxic materials -- for one, formaldehyde -- are finding their way to a safer haven. Namely, the United States...

This disturbing Los Angeles Times piece details the insanity behind the United States becoming "a dumping ground" for products that are illegal and unwanted in the rest of the world, says one University of California, Berkeley professor. That sad fact alone probably explains the escalating number of incidents involving lead, phtalates and flame retardants and children's products.

The problem: Toothless, voluntary standards enacted by federal bureaucracies like the EPA that claim a lack of evidence prevents them from severely regulating or banning products businesses or consumers may want.

For example, China exported enough hardwood plywood last year to build cabinets for about 2 million kitchens in America. Thanks to environmental loopholes, however, American consumers may be exposed to wood that emits as much as 30 times more formaldehyde than is allowed in the country where it is produced.

Recent moves by the California legislature last month to measure the presence of designated contaminants its residents absorb will probably gravitate soon to other states. And the state's Air Resources Board is considering tougher formaldehyde standards, comparable to those already in Europe and Japan. Great if you live in California, but not elsewhere...

That's why I urge you to review this article I wrote about the top 10 toxins hurting your health and how to avoid them.

Los Angeles Times October 8, 2006