Mike Schade spearheads the Mind the Store campaign at Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, which aims to work with the nation's leading retailers on creating comprehensive chemicals policy. For the previous eight years, Mike was the Markets Campaign Coordinator with the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ), a national environmental health organization where he led national campaigns to phase out PVC plastic, phthalates, BPA and dioxin. Prior to CHEJ, he was the Western New York Director of Citizens’ Environmental Coalition. Ethisphere Magazine listed Mike as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics for 2007 and the PVC Campaign received two awards from the Business Ethics Network.
Blog Post List
October 23, 2014
Parents across the country are stocking up on this year’s hottest costumes for their little ghouls, goblins, and princesses, but some costumes may contain hidden toxic chemicals harmful to our children’s health. I wish I were tricking you.
October 9, 2012
When we first got the lab results back for our report on phthalates in children’s vinyl (polyvinyl chloride or PVC) school supplies, we were utterly shocked by all of the Disney school supplies that contained such high levels of these toxic chemicals. Disney Princess and Spider Man lunchboxes were chock full of these harmful chemicals, at levels so high they would be banned if they were toys. For instance, a Disney Princess Lunchbox (pictured to the right) contained an estimated 29,800 ppm of DEHP. If this product were a children’s toy, this would be over 29 times the limit set by the federal...
October 11, 2011
Our children go to school to learn, play and make friends. Yet PVC, the most toxic plastic for our children’s health and well-being, is everywhere in most of our schools. CHEJ developed This Vinyl School , an interactive website to raise awareness about this toxic plastic and how schools can switch to safer and affordable alternatives. Visit This Vinyl School to learn about safer solutions to this unnecessary plastic. Harmful chemicals in vinyl products are chock full of toxic chemicals, like phthalates, which have been banned in children’s toys but are widespread in products like flooring in...
September 22, 2011
Know that new plastic shower curtain smell? Smells good you say? Well not so fast. The familiar new shower curtain smell may be toxic to your health. When you open a new PVC (aka vinyl) shower curtain, you’re immediately hit with a strong chemical odor, which may persist in your home for days, weeks, or even months. This “new shower curtain smell” may even make you feel nauseous, give you a headache, or make you feel sick. Why? Shower curtains manufactured out of PVC release chemicals into your home where you hang it. Even worse -- some of these chemicals may be toxic to your health. To...
April 11, 2011
Today, Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) and 72 members of Congress sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson urging the EPA to finalize their long-delayed study on Dioxin once and for all. Read all about it in Rep. Markey's press release. EPA’s study on dioxin has been delayed for over 20 years due to intense lobbying by dioxin-spewing chemical corporations such as Dow Chemical. The new Congressional letter to EPA expresses concern that “EPA has missed this self imposed deadline to finalize and release the report by the end of 2010” and concludes by requesting EPA’s “detailed timeline for...
November 23, 2010
Toys "R" Us - you've been very naughty these past few years. We were esctatic back in 2008 when Toys R Us pledged to reduce the use of PVC and offer more PVC-free products. Unfortunately they haven't kept their word. That's why we and the Teamsters Office of Consumer Affairs have released a new report, Toxic Toys R Us – PVC Toxic Chemicals in Toys and Packaging. We wanted to find out whether or not Toys R Us did the right thing and ditched the poison plastic. The new investigation found Toys R Us has broken their promises to reduce the use of PVC and offer more PVC-free products. Our new...
November 4, 2010
I'm on the road for our PVC-Free Campus Tour at colleges all across New York State. I've been setting up our giant 25-foot ducky and showing documentaries like Toxic Towns, USA and Blue Vinyl . So far I've visited Cornell and SUNY Geneseo, and will also be going to Canisius College, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Fredonia, Vassar College, and SUNY Albany in the next 2 weeks. All the students I've met with were shocked to learn their schools were using PVC that's poisoning environmental justice communities around the country. Students are launching PVC-free purchasing campaigns at their colleges to help...
September 30, 2010
Our nation’s schools are in trouble – and this time, it’s not the test scores. No, this time it is the toxic chemicals lurking in schools that leave children too sick to learn. Many schools around the country are literally made out of an emerging toxic plastic of concern , polyvinyl chloride (a.k.a. PVC or vinyl). This volatile vinyl is permeating our schools, from vinyl flooring, to computers, to vinyl backpacks and other school supplies. Phthalates Banned in Toys - Still in Schools. Two years ago Congress passed legislation banning phthalates in children’s toys. While phthalates have been...
September 17, 2010
It seems that sometimes I can’t turn around without hearing another story about lead popping up in some children’s PVC product. Plastics make it possible, right ? Last week, CNN reported that new testing by Consumer Reports magazine found elevated levels of lead in children’s vinyl rain coats. Jeeeeeeez, what will it take for the chemical industry to get its act together? Just a few weeks before that, thanks to new testing by the Center for Environmental Health , last month the California Attorney General's office filed a major lawsuit against manufacturers of children’s PVC bouncy houses...
August 19, 2010
You strive to make your home a healthy and safe environment for your children to grow up in. But what about the 8 hours they spend in school each day? Unfortunately, many school supplies are composed of the poison plastic: polyvinyl chloride (PVC). This plastic can contain a toxic stew of phthalates, lead, cadmium, and/or organotins—it’s a recipe for disaster. To the developing body of a child, even a small exposure to these toxic chemicals can be dangerous. Studies have shown that chemicals released by the PVC lifecycle are linked to chronic diseases on the rise in children — learning...