The Precautionary Principal: When the health of humans and the environment is at stake, it may not be necessary to wait for scientific certainty to take protective action. The precautionary principal is codified into law in many European countries, particularly when it comes to unproven chemicals and their potential long term impact on our health and the health of our children. In these countries the burden of proof that these chemicals may cause harm falls on the producer rather then the consumer. Yet here in the United States, land of the free and the brave, that burden of proof too often falls on all of us. As parents who want to make smart, healthy and safe choices this can be an impossible burden.
What does this really mean to you and I? In simple terms, it means that there are as many as 80,000chemicals that have been created by the chemical industry since the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) was enacted in 1976, yet these chemicals have never been fully assessed for their toxic impact on human health or the environment. These chemicals may be found in the clothes our children wear, the furniture our children play on, the shampoo our families use, and the products we use to clean our home.
Unbelievable but true. While we wait for legislation to update the TSCA, we at ClimateMama are honored to join with Safer Chemicals and Healthy Families and many parents around the country to ask the 10 largest retailers in the country, companies we all support and frequent, to help us MIND THE STORE and get the “worst of the worst” the Hazardous 100+ Chemicals out of their stores and protect our children and their health from from the impacts of these chemicals.
At ClimateMama we all do our best to shop wisely, check labels, and buy organic as often as we can. Yet, too often we can’t even pronounce half of the chemical names listed on products we buy, let alone know what is and isn’t tested, safe or hazardous. A long time ago, when my children where just learning to read, I decided that if they couldn’t pronounce the ingredients in a product I was buying, it likely was something I shouldn’t buy. My children are now teenagers and don’t regularly come shopping with me anymore. I want to trust that if there is a beauty product or cleaning supply for sale at my local store, that it is safe and I can grab it and go. Unfortunately too often this isn’t true, particularly here in the USA. Many products formulated for our use regularly use chemicals from the Hazardous 100+ list, yet when these same products are sold in countries like Sweden or Germany, these chemicals are removed!!! Say it isn’t so…but sadly it is…As a concerned parent, join us as we use our collective power to get these chemicals off our local store shelves.
Here’s how you can get involved: go to Mind the Store at Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families right now and send a letter asking the nations top ten retailers to reduce, eliminate or safely substitute for, chemicals of high concern from our everyday products. It’s easy, and something you and the kids in your life can do together, today!
Check in with us next week, as I will be visiting a local outlet of one of the TOP TEN retailers with a letter and an “ask” that they help me and my family by “Minding the Store.” I look forward to sharing my story and my experience with you. I hope that you too will join me and politely let your favorite stores and brands know that because you have your family’s health and safety in mind, you’ll be reading labels and voting with your dollars every time you go shopping. Let us know how your visit to the store went, and if your favorite retailer will help you “Mind the Store”…
PS What does this have to do with Climate Change? Simply, many of the Hazardous 100+ are derived from petrochemicals (fossil fuels). More complicated but equally relevant to me is the fact that my children and I seem to be part of a big “experiment” and at the mercy of companies that aren’t really sure “how harmful” their products are, but are willing to bargain with my health and that of my children while we all wait to find out. This same attitude and lack of adherence to the precautionary principal is ingrained in the production, distribution and transportation of fossil fuels and “big agriculture” products where the “experiment” not only involves my children’s health but that of our planet’s as well.
No one is “minding the store” as these billion dollar companies scar our earth, our environment, and poison our air and our water. We have allowed many of these companies to be “exempt” from rules that are set up to protect us. We assume that our government officials are regulating industry and looking after our health, welfare and “minding the health” of our planet for our children and future generations to come. In fact, too much is left to industry to self-police and too many unknowns aren’t answered.
The Mind the Store Campaign is a great starting point. It empowers us by giving us the tools to make a difference in a simple but meaningful way. Through our collective power I firmly believe we have the strength to help heal our planet and move us in the direction of a sustainable future and away from the precarious cliff we are standing on….