One of the biggest environmental topics of the century might well be the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (and the toxic dispersants being used to “clean it up”). However, another one that some say might have a bigger impact on our babies than the BP oil spill but that is off the major media radar is a strong Safe Chemicals Act. Jeffrey Hollender, Chief Inspired Protagonist (CIP) of Seventh Generation, says, “this is probably the most important piece of legislation — for Seventh Generation’s goals — that has come up in over 2 decades.”
If you’re not familiar with Seventh Generation, it is one of the greenest companies on the planet, offering all sorts of green cleaning products to keep our babies safe and healthy for generations to come. It takes its name from the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy, which is: “In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”
In an interview with TreeHugger, Jeffrey notes that despite the government establishing guidelines for how industry must use words like “Caution,” “Poison,” or “Danger” on consumer product labels, it has left interpretation of those guidelines to the companies. Of course, it is not in the interest of the companies to put words like these on their labels. As a result, “the communication of potential risks suffers under the conflict of interests.”
Something that seems out of the cultural consciousness of the US in some ways, the “precautionary principle”, is something else that we need to incorporate into chemical legislation, Jeffries says. “We as a society are paying an incredible cost for not using the precautionary principle,” he says.
As an example of this, a recent study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found nearly 300 chemicals to be in the umbilical cords of 10 babies, and the fact of the matter is that we don’t know what effects these chemicals can have on the babies.
As Christine Lepisto of TreeHugger reports, “the current legislative scheme requires EPA to prove that there is harm before these chemicals can be regulated. Protection of the public devolves into an argument about the sufficiency of scientific evidence. The precautionary principle reverses the game: industry must have sufficient evidence to prove a chemical is safe for the intended uses.”
What can you do?
You can contact your representatives in Congress and tell them that you want a strong Safe Chemicals Act. You can also stop buying overly toxic chemicals and start using natural housecleaning products. Do your part to protect your babies and others’ babies from thousands of untested and probably toxic chemicals.
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