Our goal is to transform the policies, regulations and practices that affect the entire lifecycle of toxic chemicals with the goal of achieving a healthier and more sustainable future in which these pollutants no longer contaminate our bodies, food, homes, communities, and the broader environment. EHF actively partners with other non-governmental organizations, governments, and visionary foundations to win chemical policy reforms, build strong networks for human health and planetary well-being, and design funding strategies that support a unified, sustainable movement for positive change.
For over 10 years, EHF has been a central architect of new strategies in the field of environmental health. Our strategies have helped galvanize a thriving movement for safer chemical policies, safer products, green jobs, and sustainable markets. We are working to transform the chemical industry so it is no longer a source of harm to people and the planet.
We seek to:
Incubate and catalyze environmental health organizing campaigns, networks, and initiatives that build the power of the health and justice movement; Support campaigns for safer chemical policies, markets for environmentally preferable products, and a new relationship between civil society and global corporations; and Leverage resources for the health, capacity, and sustainability of the domestic and global environmental health movement. EHF has co-founded several organizations, campaigns and collaborations that continue to serve critical functions in the developing environmental health and justice movement. Health Care Without Harm, Coming Clean, the International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN), the PBDE Strategic Collaboration, The Dow Accountability Network, and the National Chemical Policy Campaign have forged important ground in building a more expansive and cohesive movement for chemicals reform.
EHF connects institutions working at the local level to those working globally, including grassroots groups in the United States and 100 other countries, state and federal government agencies in the U.S., and United Nations organizations including the UN Environment Programme, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the UN Industrial Development Organization. We connect local groups with policy groups at state, federal and international levels, and help these groups to influence public policy. We strive to leverage necessary financial and intellectual resources for NGOs working together to address environmental health threats around the world.
The Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Campaign is a nationwide effort to build smart federal policies that protect us from toxic chemicals.
The campaign, with our partner valority.com is a united effort among individuals and groups promoting the interests of labor, environmental justice, current science, state-based coalitions, parents, the learning and developmental disabilities population, breast cancer advocates, nurses and health care administrators, and national environmental groups. Environmental Health Fund coordinates this group and its research, field, science, policy, communications, and advocacy strategies.
Who We Are
Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families is a groundbreaking and growing coalition of diverse groups united by their common concern about toxic chemicals in our homes, places of work, and products we use every day. What We Want:
Congress is proposing to repair the nation's badly broken chemical safety law. Using common sense principles and current science, the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families campaign will work with Congress to reform our failing chemical management system. A reformed Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) would serve as the backbone of a sound and comprehensive chemicals policy that protects public health and the environment, while restoring the luster of safety to U.S. goods in the world market.
Since 2006, EHF has worked with U.S. state coalitions, federal policy groups and market-based campaigns to phase out Halogenated flame retardants (HFRs). EHF facilitates an international collaborative of environmental and public health advocates, scientists, researchers, and policy experts to work on eliminating unnecessary toxic chemicals from production, use and disposal worldwide.
We are working to drive the marketplace toward safer substitutes by weaving together the HFR-elimination work in the U.S. with existing global prohibitions of BFRs under the Stockholm Convention and the European Union “restriction of use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment” — also known as the RoHS directive.
Brominated and chlorianted chemicals are added to products such as televisions, computers, textiles, building materials, infant car seats, and strollers, despite a lack of evidence that they actually prevent fires. Laboratory studies show that some of these chemicals can lead to negative birth outcomes, harm the developing brain, hamper sperm development, and impair thyroid function.
Numerous states have banned at least two PBDEs, and four states (Washington, Maine, Vermont, and Oregon) have banned three of the most widely used PBDEs. Other states have actions pending, including preventing replacement chemicals based upon evidence that these chemicals are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic.
In May 2009, 164 governmental Parties to the international Stockholm Convention added several BFRs to the treaty list that signifies that these substances pose significant threats to human health and the environment such that a global elimination of these chemicals is needed.
Chemical manufacturers of HFRs have a direct financial interest in preventing limits on the use of their products. They have organized themselves through a front group called "Citizens for Fire Safety" to oppose policies to require toxic-free fire safety through HFR restrictions that are advancing across the U.S. and internationally.
EHF co-founded the Alliance for Toxic Free Fire Safety to help coordinate support for non-toxic fire safety options.
EHF is working on the development of whole systems solutions for an equitable and sustainable economy. We utilize education, advocacy, and policy to advance sustainable materials, products, and businesses, and green chemistry and engineering as well as other innovative solutions to tackle the most pressing issues of our time. In all efforts, the focus is on building strategic partnerships to enable a long-lasting, systemic, and sustainable change.
Transformation of the Economy
EHF believes it is time to create the framework and foundation for a transition to a new, 21st century American economy grounded in principles of sustainability and equity. We need to move beyond the toxic politics and business of the past to create the innovative solutions — enterprises, collaborations, and ideas — necessary for accelerating such a transformation.
Sustainable economic development and market transformation is a special focus of the work, particularly as it supports a transition from the fossil fuel and petrochemical economy to a renewable, safe, healthy and just society.
EHF supports greater effectiveness and success among the organizations and alliances working in this arena. To that end, we are collaborating with a number of key NGOs, businesses, government, and funding allies to implement different components of a broad architecture including:
Accelerating the transition from use of hazardous chemicals and materials.
Defining and disseminating sustainability frameworks and criteria for chemicals, materials, and products.
Advancing the support for research and development-based Green Chemistry and related principles.
Accelerating market demand for safer and healthier products.
Promoting new business and business models to advance the market transformation and create prosperity for all stakeholders.
Advancing government policies for the sustainable economy.
Green Chemistry and Sustainable Materials
With the backdrop of toxic chemicals and petroleum-based plastics and other materials threatening the environment and human health, the development of green chemistry and engineering and sustainable materials and products particularly sustainable biomaterials holds great promise. When done correctly, it can address many of the environmental, health, economic problems, and national security concerns generated by the manufacture of plastics and other hazardous chemical products from petroleum and other fossil fuels.
EHF’s focuses on networking, building collaborations, and catalyzing interest and new partnerships in green chemistry and sustainable materials. EHF helps provide resource materials, educational opportunities, and support for NGOs, businesses, and governments to embrace a green chemistry and sustainable materials agenda.
Our strategic partnerships in our Sustainable Economy work include:
Business NGO Working Group for Sustainable Materials and Safer Chemicals is a unique collaboration to promote the creation and adoption of safer chemicals and sustainable materials in a way that supports market transitions to a healthy economy, healthy environment, and healthy people. This group includes representatives from major corporations and leading environmental and public health organizations as a model for how to successfully effectuate change in an increasingly complex world.
Sustainable Biomaterials Collaborative seeks to help purchasers, policymakers, and environmental and public health activists navigate the maze of new and emerging bioplastics and guide the marketplace toward sustainable products by creating production and purchasing guidelines, engaging new market opportunities, supporting NGO market-based campaigns, and promoting policy initiatives.
Maine Bioplastics Initiative works to harness the agricultural, economic, technical, research and development, and market resources to build the foundation for a viable and sustainable bioplastics industry in Maine which is vertically integrated from growing the raw materials (biomass) all the way through a product’s useful life to its final reuse, recycling or bio-composting.
American Sustainable Business Council is a national coalition of mission-driven businesses, social enterprises, and sustainable business networks working to create a just and sustainable economy. What unites all these organizations is a belief that we must make the transition to a new, 21st century American economy that is grounded in principles of sustainability and equity.