In the production stage, we use energy to add toxic chemicals to the natural resources to make toxic products. Our industrial production systems use vast amounts of natural resources, water, energy and chemical compounds to churn out pollution, work and community health problems and products, many of which contain toxics known to be harmful to human health and the environment.
Industrial production systems create wide ranging environmental problems, including climate change, water depletion, waste and toxic pollution. Today’s industry relies on a toxic brew of synthetic chemicals which end up both as products and released as pollution. In the U.S., industry admits to releasing over 4 billion pounds of toxic chemicals a year, pollution which disproportionately impacts low income communities and communities of color.
As long as we use toxics in our production systems, we’ll keep getting toxics in our air, water, food, and stuff. These toxics enter our homes, schools, workplaces and bodies through pollution and consumer products. Toxics, which cause a range of illnesses from canter to disruption of our neurological and hormonal systems, are so prevalent that they are routinely found in every body tested, even new born babies.
The people who bear the biggest brunt of these toxic chemicals are the factory workers, many of whom are women of reproductive age working with reproductive age working with reproductive toxics, neurotoxins, carcinogens and more. Protecting people in the workplace is a fundamental responsibility of companies and governments, yet workers are routinely exposed to toxic chemicals in the manufacture of everyday consumer stuff.
In a globalized economy, pollution can be said to follow the path of least resistance. Companies increasingly move their production factories overseas in search of less stringent environmental regulations; lower work rights and salaries; weaker public access to information and opposition. But much of these toxics travel right back, carried by air currents or imported as toxic products.
Production can be clean, just and sustainable. Products can be designed to be more durable, less wasteful. Industrial process can run with renewable energy, non-toxic inputs and greatly reduced materials use. Communities hosting productions facilities must be meaningfully engaged in the project planning. Production problems must be solved, not exported overseas. Overall, materials and energy can be used more judiciously and equitably.
NGOs to Contact
Click the HERE for a list of organizations working on the issue of production. This list is not exhaustive. At this stage, we have limited the list to organizations in the U.S. Many more internation, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can be found at wiserearth.org, an online community directory and networking forum that maps and connects NGOs working on critical environmental and social issues of our times.
To add your own organization, please post your profile on wiserearth.org in order to connect with others around the world with shared interests.