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globalbriefs


News and resources to inspire concerned citizens to work together in building a healthier, stronger society that benefits all.


Auto Immune Toxicity Report on New Car Interiors


The consumer watchdog Ecology Center’s HealthyStuff.org, a product test results website, points out that there is more to green vehicles than fuel economy. That new-car smell can include a toxic mix of chemicals carried over from the manufacturing of seats, steering wheels, dashboards and armrests. The group’s fourth annual report on more than 200 model year 2011 and 2012 vehicles gave the Honda Civic and CR-Z and the Toyota Prius top marks for the least interior pollution, while the Kia Soul, Chrysler 200 SC and Mitsubishi Outlander ranked as the worst. The researchers tested for toxic heavy metals such as lead and mercury, and


cancer-causing chemicals like benzene and brominated flame retardants. “Auto- mobiles function as chemical reactors, creating one of the most hazardous envi- ronments we spend time in,” says Jeff Gearhart, research director of the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based nonprofit.


No mandatory testing or regulation of the chemicals used in vehicle manu- facturing exists, so consumers face a lack of helpful information. The use of some chemicals has voluntarily declined since 2006, but many cars continue to contain chemical levels that consumer advocates consider unsafe. The biggest decrease has been in the use of plastics made with the highly toxic polyvinyl chloride (PVC), as well as bromine, chromium leather dyes and lead.


View the full list of cars in the report at Tinyurl.com/carsrated.


Social Service Meetup Celebrates 10th Anniversary


June 12 marks 10 years of online social col- laboration through the Meetup network, formed in the aftermath of the September 2001 (9/11) tragedy. Co-founder and CEO Scott Heiferman says, “I was living a couple of miles from the Twin Towers, and was the kind of person who thought local community doesn’t matter much if we’ve got the Internet and TV. The only time I thought about my neighbors was when I hoped they wouldn’t bother me.”


Then, suddenly, people started helping each other and meeting up with each other and the idea for Meetup was born. Each of more than 100,000 Meetup groups starts with people simply saying hello to neighbors. Membership is 10 million and growing.


To join in, visit Meetup.com. 16 New Haven / Middlesex NaturalNewHaven.com


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