what are the toxies?

“The Toxies” is a multi-media campaign to keep communities safe from toxic chemicals and pollutants. The campaign, produced by the statewide coalition Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy (CHANGE) and led by Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles (PSR-LA), works with groups across the country to bring toxic chemicals to life with a Hollywood spin.

The Toxies educates the public on the hazards of specific chemicals and demonstrates how we can pull together as neighborhoods, workers, businesses and consumers to eliminate them from our lives.

While the Toxies characters may seem glamorous, these toxic chemicals are dangerous, ubiquitous, and have nefarious careers. The more we know about them, the more we can adopt programs that push them into immediate retirement and inspire green innovation to protect our health and environment for future generations.

In 2013, we created The Toxies: Exposed, a series of webisodes that follow a daring investigative journalist as he chases down toxic chemicals and pollutants.

See highlights from past years and read all about our partner groups, the Toxies Host Committee.

why the toxies?

No matter how hard they try, toxic chemicals are disruptive, distracting, and cause damage whenever they’re involved. These chemicals have intrinsic hazard traits and should be eliminated and replaced with safer alternatives as soon as possible.

Every week, we see another study linking chemicals in our homes, schools, and workplaces to cancer, infertility, autism and developmental disorders, and more. Childhood cancers have increased 20% since 1975, and now, 1 in 88 U.S. children have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. The U.S. chemical regulatory system is broken and fails to protect people, wildlife and the environment from toxic chemical exposures.

Taking a page from the tobacco industry’s playbook, the chemical industry attempts to cast doubt on the legitimate, peer-reviewed research that indicts toxic chemicals, and then pressures the government so that no effective action is taken.

It’s up to the public to fight back, and sharing the news about these toxic chemicals through projects like The Toxies can really help. “Innocent until proven guilty” is okay in the criminal justice system, but not okay when it comes to chemicals that can really harm us.

The kind of traits that nominate a chemical for a Toxie include:

  • Toxic or poisonous;
  • Causes cancer;
  • Changes genetic material;
  • Interferes with normal reproduction;
  • Disrupts the endocrine system (synthetic hormones);
  • Causes serious eye damage;
  • Causes hyper-reaction in the airways;
  • Causes skin rashes or irritations;
  • Accumulates in the body;
  • Affects fish and other aquatic organisms;
  • Depletes the ozone layer.

The chemicals featured in The Toxies are by no means an exhaustive list, but they’re a place to start. Once more people recognize the harm they cause, we can take the right steps to eliminate them and fix the system that let them get work in the first place!