Monday, August 3, 2009

Support the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families campaign

I got an email from MomsRising, which "has joined a growing movement of workers, scientists, fertility experts, and advocates for learning and developmental disabilities in supporting comprehensive reform for America's chemical policy." As part of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families campaign, they are "calling for updated chemical regulations so that chemicals are proven to be safe before they are out on the market and in the products our kids use every day!" According to MomsRising, "legislation soon will be introduced to reform and modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act that is failing to protect [us] from dangerous toxic chemicals. PLEASE SUPPORT THIS LEGISLATION." I could not agree more.

I copied their suggested letter to be sent to elected representatives and adapted it a bit to make it more "me." I'm sharing with you so you can see what's at stake. Feel free to adapt this letter text to suit your style and send it to your Senator and U.S. Representative. Send it to everyone you know who might also send it to their reps. It's easiest to use MomsRising's form, which "knows" who your representatives are and automatically sends it along. Here is that link.

My Version of the Letter

Dear _____:

Thousands of toxic chemicals, which have not been tested for safety, have been added to common items found in homes across America: In children’s toys and bottles, in food cans and soda can linings, in our mattresses, computers, shampoos, lotions and more.

THOUSANDS OF UNTESTED TOXIC CHEMICALS, many of which are linked to cancer, reproductive issues, neurotoxicity, etc., bioaccumulate in you, in me, in my baby, in my dog, in waterfowl and fishes.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found toxic chemicals in the blood and urine of all Americans. Babies are born with hundreds of chemicals in their blood, which increase the risks of prostate and breast cancers, diabetes, heart disease, lowered sperm counts, early puberty and other diseases and disorders.


Additionally, many of our most significant trading partners are implementing stronger chemical protection policies than we have in the U.S., putting our economy at further risk for not being able to compete in a global marketplace that is rapidly gaining awareness of the problems associated with runaway use of toxic chemicals. The law governing toxic chemicals, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), is now 33 years old and has never been modernized. Outdated technologies and unsafe chemicals have created costs too great to bear to sustain our quality of life, with broad implications for our healthcare system and our economy.

Some 82,000 chemicals are available for use in the U.S., yet only about 200 chemicals have been assessed for safety. Even though only 5 chemicals have been removed from use based on health and safety concerns of those 200, that's 2.5% of tested chemicals that had to be removed. Do the math and you'd extrapolate that, at that rate, we're currently exposed to more than 2,000 chemicals that are slowly, softly killing us.

Translation: It's no wonder why healthcare costs are rising!

The time has come to give the federal government enough authority to require that chemicals be tested for safety before they are put into the products we use every day. As your constituent, I urge you to support legislation that will:
  1. Take immediate action to stop the use of the most dangerous toxic chemicals (yes, the EPA already knows which ones these are, as does the EU);

  2. Give the EPA the power to assess the safety of all chemicals so that the health of all people and the environment, especially the most vulnerable subpopulations, including children, workers, and pregnant women, will be protected;

  3. Improve the right to know about toxic chemicals by allowing the public, workers and the marketplace to have full access to information about the health hazards from chemicals and the way in which government safety decisions are made.
Legislation to modernize and update the Toxic Substances Control Act will be introduced soon. I urge you to support this effort to lead us into a new era of safer chemicals and healthy families.

Don't be swayed by the chemical lobby and their "it will cost more" whining. Whatever it costs in the short-term will pale in comparison to the rising cost to treat increased cases of cancers, neurological conditions, infertility and worse, not to mention the emotional toll on the victims and families--yours and mine.

Thank you for your leadership.

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