Written by Felicia Willems
Last week I joined with other Triangle families down at the North Carolina General Assembly for a ďToxic Free Kids OlympicsĒ in the Childrenís Garden. The purpose of the event was to highlight the need for legislation to get harmful chemicals out of the products we buy.
Moms and kids played games like the ďToxic Tub Toy TossĒ and ďJumping through hoops to keep your family safeĒ relay, all in an effort to get legislators to recognize that we need their help. It really hit me while we were playing games how common toxic chemicals are in the products we buy every day. Common plastic tub toys were tossed with tongs from one container into another. In the ďfind the toxicsĒ under a bucket game, it was surprising to see how many of them I had in my house. We saw common canned foods, a plastic football thatís similar to one my son plays with, and some plastic bowls just like some that I (formerly) used in my kitchen.
Iím going to admit it. Like so many other big, messy, complicated issues, just not thinking about the toxic chemicals that are in all of these items is something I used to do. It is so much easier to ignore it. After all, you canít see the chemicals. There isnít really an immediate effect that is apparent from using these products. And after all, Iíve got so many other immediate issues that are on my mind.
But the more Iíve learned about toxic chemicals, the more Iíve come to understand that it isnít an issue that can be ignored. Itís dangerous too, because it is so easy to put it out of your mind, yet it has such severe, permanent consequences. Toxic chemicals can be the likely culprit causing early puberty, learning disabilities and rising cancer rates and this has to stop.
Currently, manufacturers arenít required to test the chemicals they use to make sure they are safe. To add insult to injury, manufacturers arenít even required to tell us what chemicals they are using. And even when they do tell us, you would need to be a chemist to understand.
At the Toxic Free Kids Olympics, we made two giant torches where parents and kids wrote messages about why they support toxic chemicals reform. In an effort to bring more attention to this issue and spread information across the state about why we need action on toxic chemicals legislation, we are going to do more of these events across the state and gather more messages from North Carolinaís families.
This isnít something that can be fixed through consumer demand. This isnít something that I can just go online to do a search and find out if the product I am buying is safe. This is an issue where we need our elected officials to act so we must make our voices heard.
This post was originally published by MomsRising.
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