of Californians live with air that threatens their health.
years of your life may be lost due to living with unhealthy air.
Cutting emissions from the products you use
CCA has worked to secure standards that will reduce toxic, smog-forming emissions from household and industrial products used in California. Such measures benefit everyone who lives and works in California; furthermore, since many manufacturers use California standards in making their products, the environmental and health benefits may be felt across the country.
Approved by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) in 2009, Rule 1143 sets the strongest limits to date on VOCs in all consumer paint thinners and multi-purpose solvents sold in Southern California. The rule was challenged when industry representatives took the AQMD to court and attempted to delay implementation by as much as three years. If that were allowed to happen, Southern California would suffer an increase of approximately 4,170 tons of dangerous pollutants—undoing the progress that air quality advocates have worked to achieve.
CCA and allies from the Sierra Club, Breathe LA and CLEAN Carwash Campaign came together to defend Rule 1143; in 2010, the AQMD board agreed to not to delay, and the rule took effect in January 2011. Furthermore, Chairman Dr. William Burke directed AQMD staff to investigate what could be done to abate the impacts of industrial products on the workers who use them each day.
In November 2010, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) voted in favor of reducing the amount of VOCs from 11 different categories of consumer products, including common household cleaning products such as countertop sprays and window cleaners. Three toxic chemicals—methylene chloride, perchloroethylene and trichloroethylene—are also now prohibited from use in several of the products included in this regulation. When this regulation is fully implemented in 2014, the emissions benefit will be the equivalent of taking 500,000 cars off the road.
CCA's long dry-cleaning campaign yielded victory in early 2007 when the California Air Resources Board agreed to phase out the toxic dry cleaning chemical perchloroethylene ("perc") by 2023. In adopting the plan, California charted a course for the garment care industry that will protect cleaners, their workers, customers and neighborhoods from this cancer-causing chemical.
Perc is a dangerous carcinogen and one of the top 10 most toxic air contaminants in the state. It is also estimated to have contaminated 1 in 10 public drinking wells in California.
The Coalition for Clean Air worked with more than 35 groups to call for a stronger perc phaseout plan, including a faster timeline of 10 years and a phaseout of hydrocarbon cleaners, which cause smog. We were also joined by dozens of cleaners who had voluntarily stopped using perc and switched to nontoxic, non-polluting options such as "wet" cleaning.
In 2008, CCA reached out to the Vietnamese-American population to raise awareness about chemicals used in nail salons. Eight out of 10 nail salon workers in California are Vietnamese. In a survey conducted by the California Breast Cancer Research Program, more than half of the Vietnamese-American nail salon workers interviewed experienced health problems associated with working in the industry – primarily related to exposure of toxic fumes from the nail products.
As with many of the ethnic communities in our workforce, these nail technicians often have limited access to health care services or adequate information on the health impacts of the products they use. CCA has provided education and resources for the Vietnamese population so they can remain informed and advocate for health protections.