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Chemical Home
Alex Steffen, 20 Sep 04

"Babies are born with toxic chemicals already contaminating their bodies." With that cheerful thought, Greenpeace invites you to explore the wonderful world of household toxics with their Chemical Home campaign.

It's a pretty straight-forward activism site, mainly designed to (fairly legitimately) scare the bejeezus out of you (Phthalates! Organotins! In my bladder? I'm freaked already and I have no idea what they're talking about...)

The idea is to get you to put pressure on manufacturers to change their ways. That's fine, true and useful. We swim in an untested soup of chemicals as we make our way through the day, and this is in no way a good thing. And Chemical Home is fairly educational (once your shakes go away).

What's missing is the upside. Yes, each catagory does link to a healthier alternative (I learned, for instance, that Asics "have phased out the use of PVC and state that they do not use phthalates, organotins, chlorinated paraffins or other priority hazardous substances to make their trainers."), but the positives are almost lost in the fine print.

I'm convinced that we can't frighten people into sustainability. We have to provide evidence that they can live better lives with green alternatives. So, sure, hit the site, get educated on the petrochemical/heavy metal bath we're all taking every day, but then let's get back to the main business of creating an irresistable bright green upgrade to the 20th Century.

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