by Ali Berman
Categories: Causes, Environment, People.
Photo: The Toxies

The 2012 Toxies, a satirical awards show featuring the worst pollutants, is approaching fast and bringing some much needed attention to the hazardous chemicals that are used in our everyday products. Sounds grim? It is. But, they do bring with them a healthy dose of humor.

Happening on June 24th and organized by the Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy (CHANGE) and the Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles (PSR-LA), 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.”

What does it take for a chemical to get nominated? Here are just some highlights. Each nominee has to have one or more of the following going for it. (Or, going against it…)

Sound like something you want to rub all over your skin, put in your food, or soak your pillow in before bed? We didn’t think so.

Who made the list of nominees. Check out these lucky chemicals and their categories.

Worst Performance in a Mystery

Fracking Chemical Cocktail: Shaken and stirred, a concealed recipe for earthquakes and contamination.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): A secret identity is good for heroes, not tomatoes.
Halogenated Flame Retardants: It’s a couch, it’s a baby stroller, it’s Super toxic!

Worst Replacement in a Series

Formaldehyde: An unbelievable comeback. From the morgue to your beauty salon.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): OMG! GMO – What nature never intended.
Halogenated Flame Retardants: A villain by any other name would smell just as toxic.

Worst Local Performance

Lead: Painted the town toxic, one house at a time.
Nitrates: Creating fertile fields for skin, heart and respiratory problems.
Ultrafine Particles: Size matters. Especially if you live near a freeway.

Worst Workplace Drama

Chloropicrin: From the fields to your table, this pesticide leaves a trail of tears.
Perchloroethylene (Perc): A wolf in dry-cleaned clothing, working overtime to ravage your health.
Trichloroethylene (TCE): A toxic solvent deserving a dishonorable discharge.

Worst Hair and Makeup

Formaldehyde: Creating nasal cancer in a hair and nail salon near you.
Phthalates: L’eau de cancer.
Sodium Hydroxide: Straightening your hair while damaging your health.

Worst Ball-Breaking Performance

Bisphenol-A (BPA): Dude, plastics in your body can change the shape of your genitals.
Dioxin: Burn plastic burn – to decrease your fertility.
Phthalates: Your lotion’s no love potion if it jumbles your johnson.

Lifetime Achievement in Harm

Lead: Responsible for centuries of learning disabilities. Lead is forever.
Mercury: From mad hatters to air pollution; a maddening career.
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs): Old school and not cool – a history of harm.

Have a particular hatred for one of these chem lab experiments gone wrong? Vote in the People’s Choice Award category and show the manufacturers just how much you appreciate their hard work to decrease your fertility.

Ecorazzi, a media partner with The Toxies, will definitely be tuning in. We hope you’ll join us.

About Ali Berman

Ali Berman is the author of Choosing a Good Life: Lessons from People Who Have Found Their Place in the World (Hazelden) and Misdirected (Seven Stories Press). She works as a humane educator for HEART teaching kids about issues affecting people, animals and the environment. Her published work can be found on her website at In early 2012 Ali co-founded flipmeover, a production company with the mission to use media to raise awareness of social issues.

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