"It's not polite to discuss religion or politics," somebody probably warned you earlier in life. Somewhere along the way, I heard that saying, too. So we manage our way through most social events and peer interactions without uttering a word that might divide us. This political season leaves many of us biting our tongues about this or that candidate because we'd rather keep the peace among friends and family. Yet, many of us in the middle have much more in common with each other than we do with any particular candidate.
Somewhere along the way, I learned about calling and writing my Congressional leaders, not because I wanted to get involved in politics, but because I got concerned about the issues. Often the issues that are not even politically popular, that you may not hear mentioned in candidates' stump speeches, are the issues that most of us average citizens have in common.
If you haven't learned the facts behind consumer issues like the Safe Chemicals Act, there's still time to read about it, decide how this affects your family, and get involved. The Act aims to update a 1970s rule that was supposed to ensure chemicals were safe before they got infused into our consumer products. Thousands upon thousands of chemicals were simply grandfathered in, never being rigorously tested for safety. The measure that appeared to protect consumers really does nothing of the sort. Now that environmental scientists can independently point to a multitude of concerns about certain chemicals that could be behind our mysterious rise in cancer, asthma, learning disabilities and more, it's apparent that the time is long past for chemical safety reform.
Here's what you can do today, on this Healthy Families Day of Action:
1. Get the facts behind the Safe Chemicals Act.
2. Decide for yourself how this affects your family. For instance, do you buy any readymade laundry or cleaning products? Do you have furniture treated with flame retardant chemicals? Are you of childbearing age? Has your family dealt with any diseases, like many of today's cancers, that have a nongenetic cause?
3. Use this convenient tool to locate your elected officials and those running for office, and politely call and write to them about your concerns. Ask your candidate, of any party, what he or she will do to protect families through the Safe Chemicals Act. Ask for both sponsorship and a vote of support for the bill.
4. In case you feel intimidated about number 3, read this blog post about Big Chemical's agenda. As much as most of us want a middle ground where industry thrives while doing what is morally right, some industry forces are working to stop any sort of reform that would get the worst chemicals of concern out of our products. Big Chemical has the dollars to keep the Safe Chemicals Act from happening. But you have the voice and the vote to let the average family's concerns be heard. You have the vote at the ballot box for supportive candidates and again at the cash register for safer products.
Thank you for asking our leaders to answer their moral imperative to support the health of future generations. Thank you for taking part in the Healthy Families Day of Action!