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Slideshow: 13 States that Need an Erin Brockovich

See if you or your loved ones live near one of these terrifying disease clusters.


Disease clusters are still too little understood and there is great need for more research. The Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Disease Cluster Alliance make the following recommendations:

There is a need for better documentation and investigation of disease clusters to identify and address possible causes. Meanwhile, toxic chemicals should be identified and controlled through reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), so these chemicals don't pollute communities and sicken people.

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Seven Surprising Uses for Baking Soda

Who knew all the awesome things you could do with this regular old household product?

Let us be clear: Baking soda is not going to permanently cure your acne or turn back the cruel hand of time. But if you’re looking to detoxify your body and your household, this multitasking ingredient will make your life easier (and more beautiful) without denting your coffers. Mom may have taught you that baking soda will make your bread rise and your fridge smell better, but did you know of its many cosmetic applications?

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Yesterday was a good day for bunnies: Scientific American reported that researchers now have a new way of testing toxicity that doesn't involve adorable, helpless (and scientifically useful) animals. Instead, it involves lab-grown human skin.

It sounds like something out of science fiction—but at the same time it seems kind of weird that it hasn't been done yet, mainly because it has the potential to be very, very useful. We come into contact all day with things—from personal care products to household cleaners—and we don't know nearly enough as we need to about their safety. One of the big problems with toxicological testing has always been the fact that there's no ethical way to test chemicals on human subjects—and so scientists have relied on animal data.

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Quick disclaimer: We are patently against fearmongering, so don't anyone start panicking. That being said, when you look at some of the ingredients used in cosmetics and body-care products, it raises some serious questions of the "How is that even possible?" variety. Well, here's how: The cosmetics industry is self-policed, operating with very little regulatory oversight. As such, it is free to use just about anything it wants in its products, no matter how bizarre (or gross, or dangerous).

As the FDA literature states: "With the exception of color additives and a few prohibited ingredients, a cosmetic manufacturer may, on his own responsibility, use essentially any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without approval."

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