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Michael Schade

PVC Campaign Coordinator, The Center for Health, Environment & Justice

www.chej.org  

212-964-3680

The Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) is the only national environmental organization that was founded and is led by a grassroots leader.  Lois Gibbs founded CHEJ after winning the nation’s first community relocation of 900 families due to a leaking toxic waste dump in Love Canal, New York.  Through this effort she also woke up the nation to recognize the link between people’s exposures to dangerous chemicals in the community setting and serious public health impacts.

CHEJ was instrumental in establishing some of the first national policies critical to protecting community health like the Superfund Program, Right-to-Know and others. By pioneering the effort nationwide to protect communities from exposures to dangerous environmental chemicals, in the air, water and soil, CHEJ has become the preeminent national leader among grassroots groups reducing the burden of toxic substances on our environment.

CHEJ is different from other environmental organizations.  It was created out of a commitment and passion to work with communities at risk, to empower local families to take steps to protect their neighborhoods and families from unnecessary chemical threats.  Through skill training, strategic analysis and scientific research, CHEJ has worked with over ten thousand groups since our founding.

CHEJ’s overarching goal has consistently been to prevent harm—particularly among vulnerable populations such as children.  If a safer process, material or product exists it should be used.  We believe that everyone, regardless of income, race, religion, or occupation, has a right to live, work, learn, play and pray in a healthy community.

CHEJ is a leader in advocating responsible corporate behavior (located in communities and selling products to families) in replacing outdated chemicals with safe, affordable alternatives to build long-term, safe economic opportunities and community benefits.   Our twenty years of experience in this arena extends from moving McDonalds away from Styrofoam in 1986 to moving Microsoft away from PVC plastic in 2006.

CHEJ works as a convener bringing together organizations from different walks of life like teachers, doctors, nurses, blue-collar workers and faith-based leaders.  Through building strategic partnerships we create a more powerful and diverse collaborative effort for advocating healthy communities everywhere.

What happens to plastic when I put it in the microwave?

Michael Schade, PVC Campaign Coordinator with the Center for Health, Environment and Justice explains what happens to plastic when it is placed in the microwave.

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Host: What happens to plastic when I put it in the microwave?

Michael Schade: Well, many plastics contain different types of additives. These additives make it strong, they make it soft, they enable it to stand, make sure that it doesn't degrade from sunlight, different types of things to make it work. When plastic is heated and when it is put in the microwave, the chemicals that are used as additives can actually leach out. So we actually do not recommend that parents put any plastics in the microwave. Instead, use safer products such as glass or ceramic containers that are typically free of these harmful additives that can leach out. So when you heat or microwave a plastic, there is different types of additives that can potentially can leach out, that might be harmful to our health. So we think that it's important for parents to side on the area of caution and be better safe than sorry and not microwave plastics and instead, use glass or ceramic containers when microwaving. We conducted a study of baby bottles and we heated baby bottles. We found that when we heated the plastic baby bottles, higher levels of Bisphenol A came out over time and what that shows you is that as you heat certain types of plastics, these chemicals can leach out at increasing levels.