I was raised on junk food and pine-scented cleaning products. I know it's nothing to be proud of, but at the time, my mom didn't know any better. Mine is the first generation to truly be educated and aware of the harmful effects of poor nutrition and toxic chemicals, so I really can't blame her. She assumed if it was for sale, it was deemed safe.
When I had my son, Javier, eight years ago, I still was oblivious. But as I watched the term green become part of the vernacular and sections of the grocery store morph into hubs for organic products, I knew I should pay more attention.
Still I admit that for years, I skirted those aisles, assuming--like my mom did--that whatever was in the rest of the store had been deemed relatively safe, and my family and I were in the clear. I figured if products were really that harmful, someone would have prevented it from hitting supermarkets by now...right?
Wrong. I recently learned there are hundreds of chemicals introduced into the market every year. Hundreds! In fact, since the Toxic Substances Control Act was passed in 1976, a whopping 80,000 have been introduced, and only a meager 10 percent have been tested by the Environmental Protection Agency.
It turns out that Cheetos and Pine Sol aren't all I have to worry about.
I've seen the headlines and watched the television segments about the number of toxic chemicals in our everyday life that have been linked to everything from cancer to learning disabilities. I'll be honest, the more I learn, the more it scares the heck out of me.
Even if I don't use questionable cleaners on Javier's toys or in his room, for example, he is bound to touch something else in the house that has been wiped down with them. I no longer feel like I can just sit by and do nothing. My mom had it easy in a way; she had no idea about this stuff because no one was talking about it then. I neither have that luxury nor can I use that excuse.
It turns out Seventh Generation, one of the leading toxin-free companies and a brand I've favored for the past few years, is leading an effort to push Congress to take a closer look at the TSCA and require all chemicals to be studied, evaluated and tested, not just a select few. It blows my mind that in the nearly 40 years since the TSCA was first introduced, it has never been reformed but rather just sat there, barely enforced.
Today I signed a petition that a group called the Toxin Freedom Fighters will deliver to Congress on April 30, 2014. Organized by Seventh Generation, their goal is to create a movement of moms and concerned citizens like me (100,000 to be exact) who can push the government to change the laws necessary to ensure that the wrong chemicals don't hit the market, and that those that do have been properly vetted.
If you'd rather questionable chemicals don't hit the market without being properly studied, join me in the effort by signing the petition HERE.
With the right steps, our kids and grandkids can grow up in a safer, cleaner environment than we did. Who wouldn't want that?