Local parents respond to increasing concerns over toxic chemicals found in consumer products, ask for Senator Baucus’ support
Director of Programs and Policy, Women’s Voices for the Earth
MISSOULA— Missoula women and children joined families across the country in organized local stroller brigades today to demand increased protections from toxic chemicals. In Missoula, the environmental health group Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) organized parents and children on a stroller brigade to Senator Baucus’ office to ask him to co-sponsor the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011. Children were dressed in blue superhero capes to ask Senator Baucus to “be their hero” by protecting them from toxic chemicals.
Parents are rallying behind the Safe Chemicals Act (S.847), a bill that would take meaningful steps to protect the American public from toxic chemicals. The legislation, introduced by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (NJ), would increase chemical safety, inform consumers on chemical hazards, and protect vulnerable populations like pregnant women and children.
Missoula moms, dads, and kids met in Caras Park today to hand-write letters to Senator Baucus asking him to take leadership on protecting their families from toxic chemicals; they walked to Senator Baucus’ office holding signs and carrying children’s toys containing toxic heavy metals.
Local mother Crissie McMullan called on Senator Baucus to help protect her family from toxic chemicals. “There’s no way to know which products are safe, from the sippy cups my daughter drinks milk out of to the mattress she sleeps on at night,” said McMullan. “Protecting kids from toxic chemicals can’t just be a matter of good parenting, it also has to be a matter of good policy.”
Erika Hickey, owner of Walking Stick Toys in Missoula, said, “Everything that goes in or near our kids’ mouths and bodies should be safe and non-toxic. We as parents shouldn’t have to question the safety of a product that was created specifically for a baby or a child. And as a green business owner, I need to know the products I sell are safe.”
Senator Baucus delivered his first public statement on the bill to participants of the stroller brigade. “Congress can give EPA better tools to keep our families safe, including stronger requirements for obtaining data about chemicals and the ability to prioritize the risk of different chemicals,” the statement read. “The Montanans I’ve heard from about chemical safety have repeatedly and passionately told me the same things. I’m hopeful that bipartisan talks in Congress will produce a bill that can pass.”
This fall, a vote is possible on the Safe Chemicals Act in the Environment and Public Works committee, a committee on which Senator Baucus sits.
Jamie Silberberger, WVE director of programs and policy, praised Senator Baucus for his previous leadership on children’s health issues and for fighting toxic asbestos contamination in Libby. “Now, we need leadership from the senator on the Safe Chemicals Act, so that we can prevent illness associated with toxic chemical exposure,” said Silberberger.
Today’s event was one of 17 events that took place across the country, from California, to Arkansas, to Massachusetts and New York.
Women’s Voices for the Earth is a national organization that works to eliminate toxic chemicals that impact women’s health.