We all know that pollution is posing an imminent threat to our natural environment. The continuing rise of carbon emissions is evident to anyone who lives in a city filled with snaking lines of traffic. We've all heard about or experienced first-hand the detriment of our local water sources -- rivers, lakes, oceans -- caused by pollution in the form of everyday waste and industrial waste. (Have you heard about the giant mass of trash just floating in the Pacific ocean? Check it out: unbelievable
). We are starting to learn more about the environmental and health hazards of the food that we eat and the industry that makes it. But do we know as much as we should about the pollution in our own bodies?
It has become increasingly acknowledged that food produced organically is healthier for us. Pesticides used in non-organic food can be injurious to our health, and the health of the workers who spray the chemicals on the food. The bottom line is that chemicals are not sound for the environment (remember Rachel Carson's Silent Spring
?), nor for human health. So why is it that chemicals find their way into commonly sold and used products without virtually any safety testing? Chemicals can easily enter the production line without needing to be tested for safety measures. Everyday products including cookware, hair products and cleaning products contain chemicals that may have not even been tested for health safety.
The U.S. government needs to strengthen its chemical testing requirements. Many European countries are of the mindset that a chemical cannot be used in production until it has been proven safe. The United States' viewpoint aligns more closely with the idea that a chemical can be used in production until it is proven dangerous. Does this method really hold the citizens' health in its best interests? Shouldn't we be finding the harmful chemicals before they get produced so that we can protect consumers from ingesting them at all? And what about the environment? Without proper testing, a new chemical may produce unexpectedly harmful levels of waste. How are we to know without stricter safety measures?
Here in Washington, the Environmental Working Group, along with Colorado mother and author Robyn O'Brien, is pushing the Senate to reintroduce and pass the "Kid-Safe Chemicals Act". Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) is leading the reintroduction. The act aims to protect America's most vulnerable citizens: children. It would give the Environmental Protection Agency authority to request any test it needs to determine the health effects of a chemical. It would implement a stricter public health mandate, require biomonitoring, and make all studies public.
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