Millions of parents around the U.S. are becoming aware of the dangers of toxic chemicals in our homes and in the environment. They’ve taken steps to eliminate them: They buy organic crib mattresses, outfit their baby’s nursery with non-toxic furniture and décor, use non-toxic cleaning supplies, wear clothing made with natural fibers, use air purifiers, eat organic food, and so on. But we’re all still waiting for the federal government to step up to the plate and update the Toxic Substances Control Act to help give us the protection we need.
Although the Toxic Substances Control Act has been on the books since 1976, the way it’s written makes it virtually impossible for anything to be done when goods made with toxic chemicals enter the marketplace. In fact, about 80,000 new chemicals have been created and introduced to our daily lives since 1976 and only about 200 have been tested for safety and only a handful have been restricted.
Last fall, an updated Toxic Substances Control Act was introduced to congress by New Jersey’s Senator Frank Lautenberg. Check out Sen. Lautenberg’s video about the bill. It did not pass at the time, but has just been reintroduced.
There is an abundance of scientific evidence linking toxic chemicals to health problems. Study results have been clear enough to warrant 18 states passing their own laws. Also, hundreds of thousands of businesses now offer non-toxic alternatives. Almost every major grocery store chain now carries non-toxic cleaning supplies, for example, and some corporations, like Walmart, have even taken it as far as banning products with specific, very commonly used but dangerous chemicals from their shelves.
The American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) is just one group of supporters. It represents more than 70,000 businesses – Naturepedic is among them.
Our founder – also a grandfather, concerned citizen and environmental engineer – Barry A. Cik, was quoted by the ASBC in a recent news release:
“I saw Lake Erie die and then observed how the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 helped bring it back to life,” he said. “Our company was created to help stop the rampant misuse of chemicals. Naturepedic is determined to give babies and their families an alternative free of questionable chemicals. There are very few, if any, responsibilities that we have that are more important than providing a safe environment for our children. Naturepedic is asking Congress and the American public to level the playing field for businesses and make sure that all babies and children are provided with safe and healthy products free of questionable chemicals by passing this needed legislation.”
With 18 states having their own laws in place – although they don’t cover all the bases by a long shot – and hundreds of thousands of companies offering non-toxic goods, you can have a close to toxic-free household with little effort. But the new Toxic Substances Control Act will give us more choices and make it easier to get what we need to help ensure the health of our children, ourselves, and our environment.
To summarize the new law, called the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, we would see the following changes:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be required to identify and restrict the “worst of the worst” chemicals, those that persist and build up in the food chain.
Any product containing chemicals and being introduced to the marketplace, or continuing to be available, would be required to first supply basic health and safety information.
Scientific methods for testing and evaluating chemicals would be upgraded to reflect best practices called for by the National Academy of Sciences.
Generally provide EPA with the tools and resources it needs to identify and address chemicals posing health and environmental concerns.
If you would like to support the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, call your congressman and let him know how you feel.