You may be wearing them, your toddler may be crawling on them, perhaps you even cooked with them this morning. It was perfectly legal for your favorite store to sell them to you, and the law says you don't even have to be informed on the label that they exist. They're chemicals of serious health concern on the new Hazardous 100+ list. Health experts have been warning us for some time that certain substances could be contributing to both short- and long-term health problems, such as increasing our risk for cancer. Yet there they are, all around us, as part of our daily life.
I tried reading the latest tips
on this Hazardous 100+ page, but honestly I find many of them unreasonable. Sure, I can cook in something else besides a nonstick pan. But what if I can't afford more than the vinyl flooring I already have in my house even if it is leaching phthalates? And how in the world would I find out whether a new sofa is made without potentially toxic flame retardant chemicals that could put my child's health at risk? The tip sheet says I should ask the manufacturer.
I agree with bloggers
around the country that it's time for retailers to take the lead on this important family issue. While my buying power extends to that one sofa or one skillet our family might buy at, the WalMart and Kroger and Costco buyers of this country are deciding what they'll buy in thousands and millions of units. Since they have positive relationships with their customers, why aren't they stepping up and demanding the safer alternatives to substances on the Hazardous 100+ list?
The Mind the Store effort that started with the help of bloggers is something that each and every concerned parent can get involved in to make a difference. Here's what I'm doing this week and you can to. I'm printing a copy of each of the letters from the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition to top stores where I might be likely to shop. Here's a link to the letter
to WalMart, for instance, toward the bottom of this SCHF page. On a regular shopping trip, I'll take a minute to deliver the letter to the customer service desk, asking the manager in charge to please consider the Hazardous 100+ list when choosing products to sell families like mine. I've already made a similar visit to the Costco store in my area. What if more concerned parents politely had this conversation with their local store managers? After all, many of those managers are parents, too and they surely want the safest products for their children.
You can also have a voice in reaching top retailers at the executive level. Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families makes it easy to take action and reach the top ten retailers with one online form
. It's your home, your family and your health at stake here. Don't miss your chance to ask retailers to Mind the Store!