The following was written by VPIRG member and VPR commentator Abigail Mnookin, who is also the mother of a toddler.
Imagine a day in the life of my toddler: she wakes up next to synthetic-stuffed animals, puts on a disposable diaper, changes into polyester clothes, drinks out of a plastic sippy cup, plays with her favorite rubber ducky, wakes up the next day and repeats.
At first glance, there isn’t anything disconcerting about this day. But there’s an assumption among Americans that the products we buy must be safe if they’re on store shelves, and unfortunately this isn’t the case. From cleaners to shampoos to clothing to children’s toys, we use chemicals each day that are harmful to our health. Toxic chemicals are harmful to everyone who is exposed, but children are more susceptible to their dangers.
That’s why I will be heading to the State House tomorrow from 10am-Noon for Toxic-Free Families Day. Over the course of a typical day, toddlers are exposed to measurable levels of toxic chemicals, including BPA, phthalates, and flame retardants. Tomorrow my message to Legislators will be loud and clear: enough is enough.
I shouldn’t need a PhD in toxicology to keep my daughter safe from toxic chemicals – and real change will require a collective effort. Now is the time for Vermonters to lead the way toward a safer future by passing comprehensive chemical reform that protects the most vulnerable among us and spurs our leaders in Washington to act on federal reform. When it comes to chemical exposure, history tells us that it’s far better to be safe than sorry – and when we advocate for governmental and corporate change, we help insure a safer and healthier future for everyone – especially our children.
Hope to see you tomorrow,
VPR Commentator, Brattleboro