African-American, African-Caribbean hair products harmful to women and children, linked to reproductive and birth defects, breast cancer, and heart disease

posted Feb 1, 2012, 10:48 AM by Nancy Swan   [ updated Feb 1, 2012, 10:50 AM ]

Join and "Like" "Children's Environmental Protection Alliance" on Facebook and on Linked In for news, commentary, and opportunities to protect children from hazardous environmental and chemicals. 

"Safe" by US standards means no ill effects on a grown health heavy weight man. The US government fails to provide standards of chemical and environmental safety for women and children. Chemicals levels and compounds that
will not injure a man, can kill a young child. These dangerous products are used in homes and salons on children without any warning or regulation. Children are also exposed when they accompany adults to salons or are near use of these products. Few people bother to read warnings on packaging, which is not enough. If the product cannot be safe for children, they should be removed from the market or users should be subjected to regulation and enforcement.

African-American and African-Caribbean women surveyed used products that contained chemicals that are commonly referred to as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), which have been linked to various reproductive effects and birth defects, breast cancer and heart disease. -- “Racial/Ethnic Differences in Hormonally-Active Hair Product Use: A Plausible Risk Factor for Health Disparities,” Journal of Immigrant Health
“Take the kinks out of your mind, instead of out of your hair,” said Marcus Garvey. Black women today who strive to take his admonition to heart are in a better position than their sisters of the past. Research focusing on the products used in African-American beauty salons – and homes – is increasi...

Weed killer hospitalizes and sickens students at Edgewood Middle School (Ohio)

posted Oct 26, 2011, 12:32 AM by Nancy Swan

Many weed killers are neurotoxins - capable of causing damage to nerve tissue and the brain.  The chemicals in spray on foam roofing and sealant, that caused my brain damage as a teacher, were also capable of causing damage to nerve and brain tissue - but that information did not appear on the Material Safety Data Sheets, nor was it provided by Long Beach, Mississippi, school officials or the contractor, Jim English, MIRI, nor by the chemical provider, Carboline. 

The reaction of the school officials, to "down play the situation" was also the reaction at my school when I was injured and eleven students had to seek immediate medical attention.  This scene will play out again and again at schools all over the U. S., as it has over the last thirty years.  In one year, I logged over a thousand toxic school incidents in the news.

My guess is parents will not be advised that their child may not show symptoms of injury from this product until they are adults.  By then, it will be too late to find out why their child had trouble learning in school, why their child could not be accepted into a college program or training school, why their child could not participate in athletic events, and too late ask for accountability.  By then, chemical companies know it will be too late and that few will remember the details of the incident.  

What if  no parent asks for more information about the chemicals in the weed killer and no agency continues to investigate.  Please comment on this article and tell the readers to go to <> . Parents and the community will find a list of information and actions parents and the community should demand of the school and contractor who applied the weed killer.

The health of the entire school population needs to be monitored and all should be examined by an independent pediatric toxicologist.

Of course teachers at the school did not notice the smell.  To have acknowledge smelling the odor, would cost them their contract for next year.  Without anyone to dispute the school officials and emergency personnel, most parents will end up trusting what they were told to believe.  

But be advised, even though paid by taxpayers, the school attorney represents and protects the school officials against possible claims by the parents and community.  No matter what the school officials claim or how much compassion they show, parents and the school are legally on opposite sides of the law.  In matters involving legal advice, it is better to seek it now, than to find out later like we did, that the school and contractor lied and withheld information. 

Nancy Swan, Director of Children's EPA. Join Children's EPA to show by our numbers that we want the children protected from exposure to environmental and chemical hazards. 

Concerned parents may email me a cepaorg(at)gmail(dot)com
What began as breathing problems for 11 students at Edgewood Middle School spread to 47 as officials evacuated students outside, later determined to be the source of the problem. read more at

The herbicide: The main ingredient in the weed killer Momentum is a chemical called triisopropanolamine salt, which may irritate the upper respiratory tract if inhaled. Single exposures are not likely to be hazardous, but may cause slight eye irritation or slight corneal injury. It is also a skin irritant. Momentum is a trademark licensed to NuFarm Ltd.

Source: Material safety data sheet from Momentum’s distributor, Lesco, Inc.

Tags: weed killer, Edgewood Middle School, environment, school, schools, educators, cincinnati, news, abc, cbs, cnn, neurotoxin, respiratory, lungs, American Lung Association, brochitis, asthma, breathing, toxins, TRENTON, emergency evacuation, Edgewood Middle School, school officials, emergency responders, sickened students, evacuated, high school athletic field, weed killer, breathing problems, headaches, 47 students, emergency workers, hospital, hazmat gear, testing equipment, Busenbark Road, tainted fields, decontaminated, Jeff Galloway, director of the Butler County Emergency Management Agency, Emergency, chemical inhalation, life threatening, herbicide, Momentum, clover, grass, slightly toxic, corneal involvement, skin irritation, warning labels, parents, children’s clothes, shower, breathe, air, firefighters, St. Clair Township, Hamilton, Clair Township, Fire Chief Terry White, news reports of the evacuation, Butler County Sheriff’s Sgt. Richard Greer, School spokesman John Thomas, media, classroom, odor, coughing, nurse, Teachers, smell, triisopropanolamine salt, upper respiratory tract, hazardous,  eye irritation, corneal injury, skin irritant, NuFarm Ltd., Lesco, Inc.

Courage to Change: How Not to Give Up with Nancy Swan, hosted by Lisa Kratz Thomas and Frank Ferrante

posted Oct 13, 2011, 2:43 PM by Nancy Swan   [ updated Oct 13, 2011, 2:45 PM ]

Nancy Swan

How Not To Give Up … Guest Nancy Swan was an ordinary school teacher in Mississippi until she and her classroom of two dozen children and teachers became seriously sick after exposure to toxic chemicals from a spray-on roofing system at school....

In response to- Environmental Illness In Children Costs $76.6 Billion Annually

posted Sep 12, 2011, 8:32 PM by Nancy Swan   [ updated Sep 29, 2011, 11:31 PM ]

Nancy Swan's response to,
"Environmental Illness In Children Costs $76.6 Billion Annually" Health Affairs Blog,

May 4th, 2011
by Chris Fleming

President Obama's speech in support of his proposed American Jobs Act promised to increase jobs through improving US infrastructures, including schools, without sacrificing worker safety.  Obama also promised to fix the Social Security System.  Unfortunately, there are two potentially fatal flaws in both proposals that are tied by subject matter to the article referenced above, "“Environmental Illness In Children Costs $76.6 Billion Annually.”

U.S. Workers already have safety standards and regulations to insure their safety through OSHA and NIOSH.  In stark contrast, United States children have none.  It is poor government policy that does not acknowledge the U.S. EPA findings that children, whose organs and brains are still forming, are more vulnerable to harm and injury from environmental and chemical hazards. 

Everyday, children are exposed to and harmed by nearby renovation, construction, and maintenance from unsafe practices in manufacture, storage, transport, on-site storage of products as well as fumes, off-gassing, and contact with unsafe products and poorly maintained structures.  Children spend most of their time in schools where they are injured by poor indoor air environment, mold, outdoor pollution, fumes, off-gassing, over-spray and unsafe practices and products used in renovation and construction.   Demolition can release mold spores and asbestos.

In 1985, I was seriously and permanently injured while teaching in Long Beach School District in Mississippi.  High fuel prices promoted national policies encouraging energy efficiency and a promise to fix our schools.  I witnessed the tragedy of many children who also became very sick from the spray on foam roofing insulation and sealant.   I became too sick to work, and lost my job.  Children and teachers are in more danger now than when I was injured.  One-third of the cleaners used in schools contain cancer-causing chemicals.  More than one-half of U.S. schools are deemed by the EPA as unsafe for children due to poor indoor air quality, caused by pollution, environmental, and chemical hazards.

Few realize that occupants of a building: teachers, children, and other occupants of buildings and schools, are non-workers and therefore as bystanders are not covered by safety standards and regulations.  Even fewer realize that "safe" only applies to the effect on a healthy, grown, male, worker.  Children and bystanders are not provided protection.  Worse, school officials who make decisions that lead to environmental or chemical harm to teachers and children are either protected from accountability or are not made accountable for health costs.  

The second flaw is in President Obama's promise to fix the Social Security System.  The strain on the Social Security system is not just from those drawing benefits at 65.  Social Security also provides for those who have been disabled, many of whom became disabled by environmental and chemical exposure and injury as a child.   The children of those who are disabled by poor safety and lack of safety standards and regulations also draw on the Social Security Disability System.  For the disabled, SSD is barely enough to cover co payments for prescription and medical costs and often leads to medicare or burdens on other social programs.

Culpable companies should be paying for the disabilities they cause, not the Social Security program, nor other social programs.   Perhaps Social Security can bolstered by an additional tax on insurance companies who insure companies with an unsafe record and fines for businesses and corporations with a record for unsafe practices. 

Writer Chris Fleming points out that in 2008, the $76.6 billion price tag for "poor childhood health caused by environmental factors, such as air pollution and exposure to toxic chemicals. . .represents a dramatic increase.  President Obama's promise of more jobs does not have to mean a creating a poor environment for workers and children, nor does the explosion of new untested chemicals on the market have to sentence many children, particularly the poor and racial minorities, to a life time of pain, sickness, and death and result in doom for the Social Security System.

President Obama's proposals flaws do not have to be fatal.   The answer to the question posed by President Obama is "yes, 'we can restore some of the fairness and security that has defined this nation since our beginning.'"  To help our economy, child safety standards and regulations could be developed, and should be provided to school and business decision makers, contractors, and others.  With sufficient funding for education and effective oversight accomplish many of the goals set by Obama's presidency, including improvement of educational performance.   Protecting children from environmental and chemical hazards, especially at school, should be a priority and requisite to creating jobs and to an imperative to saving the Social Security System, and the economy.  

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Manhattan Children Still Battle 9/11-Related Illnesses, still no protection

posted Sep 11, 2011, 5:29 PM by Nancy Swan   [ updated Sep 29, 2011, 11:35 PM ]

Atlantic Monthly " In Manhattan, Children Still Battle 9/11-Related Illnesses

Sep 11 2011, 7:14 AM ET

The day the Twin Towers crumbled, more than 25,000 kids inhaled toxic substances. Ten years later, many of them are suffering from health problems that still haven't gone away.

Besides the tragic effect of 9/11 on the health of children, this study also show why children should not be encouraged nor allowed to work/help/volunteer in disaster areas.  Hurricane Katrina and the BP Oil Spill left injured children in its wake. Many of those were teenagers who were encouraged by youth and religious organizations to volunteer without giving them, nor parents, warning of dangers of toxins in the area.  

The US government has failed to provide safety standards and separate regulations regarding exposure to potentially dangerous or hazardous chemicals.   What is considered "safe" by government agencies is based upon a healthy grown male worker, and does not apply to non contracted workers.  What is safe for a grown man can kill an infant.  

President Obama let his own children play in contaminated Gulf of Mexico water and declared the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico "clean" and "safe,"  then encouraged "families," to visit and play in the sand and in the water.   Hours later, the beaches were once again littered with tar balls from the BP Oil Spill.  National media showed children playing alongside BP workers cleaning the beach.  Was our federal leader right to encourage families with children to play on beaches and in the water?  No.  The President had no data to support safety for children. Yet, the President's own EPA declared that children are more vulnerable to toxins than adults.

A few days ago, President Obama promised In his speech to advocate the passage of the American Jobs Act, that if passed, American jobs would increase, that infrastructure, including school buildings and facilities would be improved, and that worker safety would not be compromised.

Just worker safety?  What about the safety of children during the proposed renovation and construction on school sites?  What about the safety of bystanders, educators, children in playgrounds and yards, near renovation or the safety of child occupants in nearby buildings?

I was seriously and permanently injured in 1985 by highly toxic chemicals while teaching school in Mississippi, just seven blocks from the Gulf of Mexico.  Two dozen children were also injured.  For more information visit

Thirty years has passed without any reform to protect schoolchildren from injury from poor environmental conditions and hazardous chemicals.  No agency regulates, or records school injuries, nor is any agency assigned oversight over the safety of our school-children's health.
To learn more, visit

Twenty-year cover up of Illinois community water tainted with cancer-causing chemicals.

posted Aug 14, 2011, 12:59 PM by Nancy Swan   [ updated Sep 29, 2011, 11:39 PM ]

Village leaders secretly used a community well they knew was contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals (contaminated with dry cleaning fluid).
"Then they repeatedly lied about it in documents intended to assure the public their drinking water was safe. . .
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency had told them in 1986 that it was contaminated with vinyl chloride and dichloroethylene, toxic chemicals related to the dry-cleaning solvent perchloroethylene, or perc."  

The cancer rate for the community was significantly elevated, according to the Illinois Dept. of Public Health.
Read More at Chicago Tribune, Feds Indict 2 over tainted Crestwood well.,0,5153747.story

Children's EPA comments:
  • Those who become injured by tainted water often incur medical bills the result in home foreclosures and break-ups of marriages because of the stress and injustice of toxic injuries. 
  • How do we punished those who do this? 
  • How do we protect communities from  cover-ups and lies about safety for adults and children? 
  • Blame is easy, but how do you hold those responsible accountable? 
  • What went wrong and how do we as a country and nation ascertain that water provided by community water systems is "safe" for both adults and children?
  • Why do US politicians refuse to provide a separate standard of "safety"  and "safe" levels of environmental and chemical hazards for children? The US EPA recognizes that vulnerable populations, including children, are more susceptible to harm from environmental pollutants and hazardous chemicals.  The term "safe" only applies to a healthy, mature, male, worker.  As with medication dosages, what is a safe level of exposure for a grown man can kill or seriously injury a child.
Toxic Justice, when published, will illustrate problems and conflicts of interest within the three branches of our government.  That failure fosters cover ups and failures to hold those responsible for environmental and chemical injuries to an effective and sufficient level of accountability.  Author Nancy Swan is also Director of Children's EPA and hosts Community Forums.

Become a member or organization member of Children's EPA by emailing request to Nancy Swan at
You can also join on LinkedIn by joining the group: Children's Environmental Protection Alliance.

Help by sharing this blog on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. 

Kids’ Car Seats Still Contain Dangerous Chemicals

posted Aug 3, 2011, 12:56 PM by Nancy Swan   [ updated Sep 29, 2011, 11:42 PM ]

Kids’ Car Seats Still Contain Dangerous Chemicals

Today the nonprofit Ecology Center is releasing its fourth report on toxic chemicals in children’s car seats at   Their research shows that many of these products are made with dangerous chemicals that can lead to serious health risks for children.

Read More:

Children's EPA comment:  Many of us use baby furniture and items purchased or passed down from others.  We do not know if the items was recalled or what is in them that may be harmful to children's health or be the cause of cancer.  Learn more and join with free membership to support Children's EPA

Mold and Mycotoxins, Papers from an International Symposium, edited by Dr. Kaye Kilburn

posted Jul 31, 2011, 11:33 PM by Nancy Swan   [ updated Sep 29, 2011, 11:46 PM ]

Book Recommendation:

Molds and Mycotoxins

"Papers from an International Symposium

Edited by Kaye H. Kilburn, M.D. 2004

Are illnesses associated with exposures to indoor mold growth real, or the result of a conspiracy fueled by media hype and greedy lawyers?

This book is a compilation of 18 current, scientific, peer reviewed papers presented in 2003 - a veritable mountain of evidence that many mold-exposed people are indeed sick, with significant brain function impairment.  For more, see

Many cash strapped schools and homes in poorer regions of the U.S. and the world are victims of mycotoxins from mold.  Mold just insn't something that looks bad and smells bad, it is harmful, especially to children whose tissue, organs, lungs, and brains are still developing.

I had the honor of being examined by Dr. Kay Kilburn.  His manner of communication was precise and compassionate.  Until notified through a comment on Linked In, I had not been aware of this publication edited by Dr. Kilburn.

Safe Cosmetics Act 2011 Informative Story of Cosmetics Video and CHEJ Action Alert

posted Jul 25, 2011, 11:29 AM by Nancy Swan   [ updated Jul 25, 2011, 12:30 PM ]

The Story of Cosmetics Excellent short movie packed with life, health saving information to protect you and your children. Source:

Children's EPA was emailed the following action alert through the e-newsletter from CHEJ (Center for Health and Environmental Justice).  CHEJ was founded by Lois Gibbs who was responsible for establishing the Federal Super Fund clean up of toxic wastes as a result of her justice in for victims of Love Canal.  The momentum of today's environmental movement can be credited to Lois Gibbs and others who took enormous risks to make the world safer for us and our children. 

You can help support Safe Cosmetics Act 2011 by sharing Children's EPA blog and by emailing a letter to Congress using the simple link provided at Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

Courtesy of CHEJ newsletter:

Safe Cosmetics Act in the House

On June 24th, the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2011 was introduced in the House of Representatives. If passed this bill will give the FDA the authority to ensure that personal care products are free of harmful substances like lead, 1,4-dioxane and chemicals linked to cancer, reproductive and developmental issues.

Because federal safety regulations for cosmetics haven’t been updated since 1938, cosmetic companies can use virtually any ingredient, even toxic chemicals. The average American uses about 10 personal care products a day, including shampoo, toothpaste, lotion, aftershave, etc, and is therefore exposed to more than 100 of these potentially dangerous chemicals every day.

The new legislation would:
  • Phase-out of ingredients linked to cancer, birth defects and developmental harm;
  • Create a health-based safety standard that includes protections for children, the elderly, workers, and other vulnerable populations;
  • Require full ingredient disclosure on product labels and company websites;
  • Give workers access to information about unsafe chemicals in personal care products;
  • Required data-sharing to avoid duplicate testing and encourage the development of alternatives to animal testing;
  • Give adequate funding to the FDA Office of Cosmetics and Colors.
Check out the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website to learn more.

TV News Report- Spray on Foam insulation that went horribly wrong

posted Jul 19, 2011, 11:07 PM by Nancy Swan

Please copy and paste this link into your Facebook  or email and share on Twitter.  RT from ToxicJustice on Twitter. 
This UTube TV news report shares the dangers of this product advertised and recommended by respected building organizations as "green" and a "green solution."   My story, Toxic Justice, is not just about the danger of this product and similar brands, but of the dangers of litigating for change.  It has been almost thirty years since my injury and the US government has done nothing to stop the atrocity.  

The following edited email was sent to me with the request that it be forwarded.  Spray on Foam Roofing and Coating chemicals are deadly and are being advertised by manufacturers and applicators as well as respected building organizations as a "green" product.   They may save energy cost, but is it worth it to save oil to pay for it with our lives and health?

Not mentioned is that this product is flammable unless re-coated periodically with a flame resistant coating.   Home sellers are not required to tell buyers that it is necessary and expensive to re-coat.  It is also chemically dangerous for the inhabitants of the house and nearby homes and businesses.    


Local TV News Report regarding a DEMILEC spray foam insulation job that went horribly wrong:

We researched this product for over one year and never saw anything negative about it. So we (and others that this has happened to) were totally unprepared for what occurred. We have been in contact with MANY all over the country that have suffered through a similar catastrophic failure of a spray foam insulation installation. What we have learned is:
  • The manufacturer WILL DENY that there could EVER be a problem with their product. 
  • The installer's liability insurance company WILL DENY coverage based on a "Pollution Exclusion" clause. 
  • That leaves it up to the installer who VERY WELL MAY OFFER NO HELP WHATSOEVER. 

It costs THOUSANDS to install and TENS OF THOUSANDS to remove, and THAT IS NO GUARANTEE THAT YOU WILL EVER BE ABLE TO REOCCUPY YOUR HOME AGAIN! The chemicals are SENSITIZING AGENTS that can cause severe breathing problems and even chemical sensitivity. We know of individuals who tried to remove the foam and were sicker than they were before and had to walk away from their home.

There is a strong push today to save energy and many people are considering installing this same type of spray foam insulation in their attic (there are other manufacturers of a similar product as well.) Those individuals could be your FRIENDS OR RELATIVES. 

Also, think about buildings where groups of people regularly meet (say for example groups of 75-180 people.) We know of a local meeting place that had chemical and odor issues (not as bad as ours) and some attendees had the same health problems that we did. WHAT IF ONE OF THESE BUILDINGS SUFFERED A CATASTROPHIC FAILURE AND WAS RENDERED USELESS?

Also, think of buildings where larger groups meet (say up to 2,000 at a time.) WHAT IF ONE OF THESE BUILDINGS SUFFERED A CATASTROPHIC FAILURE AND WAS RENDERED USELESS?

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