Almost twenty years have passed since that historic meeting. Some of our earlier accomplishments include: * the launch of our first website (checnet.org); the publication of the CHEC Report; an educational video called, Not Under My Roof: Protecting Your Baby from Toxins in the Home; passage of state and federal legislation protective of children’s health; working with the Clinton administration to establish an executive order that would protect children from harm in public places; and the launch of a national educational childproofing campaign, reaching more than 80 million people with our message of inspiring parents to protect children from harmful chemicals.
Looking back, I would say one of our greatest accomplishments happened in 1998, when the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) gave us a grant. “We’re going to give you half a million dollars to build a Health eHouse,” they told us. And it became the very first, virtual, Internet, interactive medium — a one-stop, cyber shop — that gave people the opportunity to explore, room by room, using a mouse or a keypad, to learn safer alternatives to protect children in their homes.
We did this with the help and support of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). We translated hard-to-comprehend scientific data by making it consumer friendly. At the time, most people did not understand, for example, what the term “VOC” (volatile organic compounds) meant, though it is a term that is well understood today. People now know that many products contain harmful ingredients that, when used, create a vapor trail we refer to as off-gassing.
We helped people understand the danger of exposure to certain chemicals that were found in everyday products used in homes. These products contain inert ingredients, some of which have been proven in laboratory studies to cause cancer. Yet, US trademark law does not require inert ingredients to be revealed on product packaging, even though they may be carcinogenic.