About The Film

TOXIC HOT SEAT tells the story of a growing tide of activists, journalists and citizen groups who are bringing an end to the era of manipulation and misinformation about hidden toxic chemicals.

The film shows the struggle to remove toxic flame retardant chemicals from our couches, environment and bodies. These chemicals are linked to lower IQ in children, thyroid disease, infertility, cancer and other rising rates of health problems. They are found in every living being on earth.

    Since the film began production, the story has been unfolding fast:
  • Several state legislatures, including Vermont and Maryland, have banned flame retardants in furniture
  • On May 11, 2012, The Chicago Tribune commenced publishing a five-part series that explored the decades-long campaign of profit-driven deception borne from the misleading tactics of the tobacco industry.
  • California’s Governor Jerry Brown directed The California Bureau of Home Furnishings to replace Technical Bulletin 117, the outdated and ineffective flammability standard followed by most furniture manufactures nationwide.
  • In 2014, California will have a revised fire-safety standard that, for the first time in nearly 40 years, will provide a non-toxic alternative to all consumers.

But the fight does not end there. While we are entering the era of less toxic fire safety, our homes and children continue to be exposed to tens of thousands of unregulated chemicals.

Under the 37-year old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), chemical manufacturers have little responsibility to prove chemicals are safe before using them in commercial household products.

As Janet Nudelman from Breast Cancer Fund wrote in a Washington, DC venue aimed at legislative staffers called The Hill: "Under TSCA, it's perfectly legal to use formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, asbestos and other known or suspected carcinogens to make items we use every day, including household cleaners, furniture and plastics."

There are encouraging signs. In June 2013, 23 senators from both parties introduced the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA).  While the bipartisan spirit was laudable, we feel that the new bill lacked effective regulatory power and was a promotion of the status quo. Many individuals and organizations that have been dedicated to the issue of protecting our health from toxic chemicals felt the same way.

The good news is that effort to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act is alive and well. With the tragic loss of the original sponsor, Senator Frank Lautenberg, authorship of the new bill has broadened to more Senators engaged in protecting environmental health and will be hitting the floor for a vote late 2013 or early 2014.

This is our chance. It will be up to all of us to make sure that special interests do not defeat this new bill with the addition of environmental health protections firmly in place.

Those who put corporate profit before public health cannot succeed unless we are disinterested and disengaged. So let’s spread the word online and on the ground that this bill with the additions to it of strong environmental health protections needs to pass.

TOXIC HOT SEAT captured a rare and special moment in time when Californians, with health advocates nationwide, came together to face unethical corporate interests to protect our health and the health off future generations.

The time is now for the entire country to insist on a toxic free future. Let’s get it done!


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