Why a Scientist Mom Cares about Safer Chemicals

Kara East
Mom and
Environmental Scientist
When Kara East was young, she aspired to one day become a scientist like her aunt, the marine biologist.  She would eventually earn her own degree in environmental science.  "Yes, my aunt's work has always inspired me. I knew I wanted to study biology and help the environment somehow, but I did not know what field. The environmental degree required me to take classes in many different disciplines."

East now works as an educator at Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville, Tennessee.  She coordinates ways for children, families and visitors of all ages to learn about the world around them.  "I really enjoy the opportunities I have to get children excited about nature. It is so rewarding to teach them something new or just to let them experience nature and learn it is fun and amazing."

Once East became a mother herself, she felt a renewed motivation to not only teach her child to appreciate nature, but to do more.  "I always knew that I would want my child to have lots of exposure to nature and outdoor activities. I did expect the sense of responsibility to keep her healthy and safe. It just made my interest in safer environmental alternatives stronger. I found myself doing all the things I knew I should have been doing, but had been too lazy. It energized me to make the world better for her and other children."

As parents, East and her husband are supporting efforts to protect consumers from the most toxic chemicals found in everyday products.  One version of this effort being discussed in Washington is called the Safe Chemicals Act.  "We all want our children to be healthy and safe. Unfortunately right now most of the products and food made available are not healthy or safe. The Safe Chemicals Act will help get safer products and food out there." 

Andy Igrejas, Campaign Director for the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition is explaining this week in more detail the challenge of forming broad-based agreement for safer chemicals in the United States.  Actress Jessica Alba has also been speaking out as a young mother, like so many of us, becoming more aware of the need to protect our children's environment created by the very products we buy.

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