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    Kids Safe Chemical Act: The Chemical Industry Takes On the Mommy Lobby

    June 29, 2009 •  8 comments.

     •  Blog, Uncategorized

    As headlines swirl, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the nation’s food safety laws have an eerie similarity to the federal approach to safe guarding our citizens from exposure to toxic chemicals and toxic financial assets. If our federal aviation system were to adhere to the same loose, deregulated standards that we are now seeing in the chemical industry, the financial industry and the food industry, we’d be allowed to board airliners without first being checked for bombs, guns, knives, or any other objects designed to harm passengers and the crew.

    That said, legislation will soon be introduced in the House and Senate that if it becomes law will protect every single American, including babies not yet born from a life of daily contamination to a host of toxic chemicals, some of which are extremely potent at even low doses.

    New Jersey’s senior Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D), a kind hearted senior Senator with ten grandchildren who I had the honor of meeting last month in Washington, DC, and Chicago Congressman Bobby Rush (D) are poised to offer a landmark reform plan – The Kid-Safe Chemicals Act – to fix the failed federal toxics law that instead of protecting humans and the environment from the dangers of chemical exposures, has in fact allowed an entire population of people to become polluted, beginning in the womb.

    The Kids Safe Chemical Act addresses the fact that back in 1976, with the passage of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), legislation was approved that allowed over 60,000 chemicals in existence at that time to be deemed ‘safe’ for use without a single thorough test to prove that to be true. And in the three-plus decades since the law was passed, and additional 20,000 chemicals have been rushed into the marketplace with little or no safety tests.

    Today, 1 in 3 American children has allergies, ADHD, autism or asthma, with the Centers and Disease Control recently reporting stunning increases in the number of children expected to be insulin dependent by the time they reach adulthood. With 17.6% of our GDP being consumed by health costs, there is an urgent need to address the health of our children and the impact that this generation of children is having on our country, our families and our health care system.

    The Kid-Safe Chemicals Act, or Kid-Safe, would help protect the health of the American children by placing the burden of proof on the chemical industry, requiring manufacturers to first prove a chemical is actually safe before it’s allowed into a consumer product. Currently, all of these chemicals are allowed into the marketplace until they are proven dangerous.

    As I highlighted in a recent presentation in Atlanta, the American Cancer Society reports that the United States has the highest rates of cancer of any country in the world and that migration studies show that if someone is to move here from a country like Japan, their likelihood of developing cancer increases fourfold, which chemicals should they test first? Why not start with those founding people, particularly babies.

    Readers can learn more about the Kid-Safe legislation, its amazing efforts to improve the health of our children and even join in the discussion as scientists, researchers, lawmakers, policy analysts and journalists interested chemicals policy reform engage in an online back-in-forth at this new site hosted by my friend and heroes at the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

    As has been repeatedly demonstrated over the last several months, our system has some pretty significant shortcomings so a strong grassroots contingent of committed individuals will be key in order to deliver legislation to President Obama.

    The chemical industry’s lobbyists, a group worthy of a John Grisham novel, as I highlight in my book The Unhealthy Truth, have and will continue to spend millions to defeat any real reform efforts, and are gearing up for battle at the very moment.

    As a matter of fact, The Washington Post recently revealed that the chemical industry lobbyists recently joined forces with the food and beverage industry at a secret meeting to develop a plot based on “fear tactics” to put the breaks on plans to mildly restrict the use of just a single chemical, BPA. At this point, they may be enlisting the help of one of the most infamous players in the lobbying game, a man who has earned the nickname of “Dr. Evil.”

    But these industry funded folks may not realize what they are up against. We are mothers, fathers, creators and nurturers. We are teachers, lawyers, accountants and writers. And our children’s futures rest in our resiliently remarkable hands. We are soundly educated, compassionately connected and have been given the tools through this remarkable legislation to affect change.

    As a mother of four, with a background in finance, I am profoundly grateful for the Kids Safe Chemical Act and invite you to learn more about this important legislation and to participate in affecting this extraordinary change for our children.

    The opportunity is tremendous. The adventure is ours for the taking.

    If we each take action, together we can begin to restore the integrity that is now lacking in our system. We can create a ripple of hope whose force is more powerful than any one of us could achieve individually, and Dr. Evil and his gang of lobbyists won’t stand a chance!

    To learn more, I invite you to visit www.ewg.org and www.robynobrien.com.

      8 Responses to “Kids Safe Chemical Act: The Chemical Industry Takes On the Mommy Lobby”

      1. Lydia

        Thanks for bringing up this important issue. Communication is essential to work together to bring about big changes. While the Kid Safe Chemical Act currently addresses many of the problems presented by the Toxic Substances Control Act, it is important to realize that this leap forward in regulation must be accompanied by an update to the science behind the legislation. The National Research Council recently produced a report (“Toxicity Testing in the 21st Century: A Vision and Strategy”), which provides specifics as to how modernizing the science behind toxicity testing for chemicals has the potential to radically improve precision and accuracy. We all ultimately want the safety of our family and friends, and while the current draft of the KSCA is a step in that direction, to truly ensure safety, there needs to be a revolution not only in the laws themselves but the science behind them.

      2. XS Lindsey

        I saw your interview on The 700 Club earlier this week, and I was absolutely compelled to find out what can be done to prevent these poisons from being cheerfully added to the American food supply. Thanks for your info. It is definitely worth checking out. Our children are worth the fight!

      3. Robyn, I love that you are bringing awareness to this issue. I wasn’t aware of the pending legislation. I look forward to tracking your work!

      4. That is interesting that your chances of getting cancer are FOUR times higher if you live in the United States than if you live in a country like Japan. What a FASCINATING statistic. There seems to be so much emphasis on detection and not much on prevention. If you look at this site called whatsonmyfood.org (1) it looks like 6 different pesticides were found on rice and 16 different pesticides were found on wheat. in addition, omega 3’s found in fish, seem to be protective against some types of cancer.(2) Dangerous Grains, a book about wheat has some eye opening statistics about wheat and cancer. Unfortunately, the explanation might be multifactorial–and hard to sort out using statistics.

        (1) http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/food.jsp?food=RI

      5. NOTE: This comment was submitted by a corporation who manufacturers the chemical, benzyl salicylate as seen here: http://www.hpfl-india.com/products/product_benzl_salicylate.html

        According to the Environmental Working Group, the risks associated with substitute benzenes, like benzyl salicylate, are the following:
        “Health Effects related to Substituted benzenes: Skin, Endocrine system, Reproduction and fertility, Immune system (including sensitization and allergies), Brain and nervous system, Organ system toxicity (non-reproductive), Cancer, Birth or developmental effects, Persistent and bioaccumulative, Respiratory system” and can be documented at http://www.ewg.org/chemindex/term/499

      6. It is disappointing that chemical companies don’t take responsibility for the impact they are having on their own children and families… that dollars continue to override integrity and that these chemicals impacting our families are also hurting the families of the people making money off of them…I would be interested to know if they allow their children to eat products they have had a hand in…

        I love the African greeting “how are the children”… our children our sick, as are we, and it is time that we all stand up and take responsibility… that we stand up and begin to work to make things better… to make things right.

      7. Melanie Hastings

        As a mom with many food sensitivities and alleriges and one very scary episode of life threatening anaphylaxis I am very concerned about my children who also have many food sensitivities, and one has lupus, an autoimmune disease. Trying to find food without soy (my daughter and I have a lot of gastric distress when consumed) in it is next to impossible, especially when you live in small town. There are fewer options here than in the big cities. So I find myself putting up with the discomfort caused by the soy ingredient because I can’t find a loaf of bread that doesn’t contain it. It is extremely frustrating.

        I just started reading Unhealthy Truth and I am fascinated, I am only half way through the book but had to check out your website. Thank you for bringing all of this to the attention of the masses and for all of your hard work and research trying to expose the hidden evil in food that we took for granted that was safe to eat.

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