Posted by: Chloe Schwabe | June 23, 2011

States Take the Lead on Toxics

Last week, 30 religious groups from states around the country spoke up for the need to protect children, vulnerable communities, and God’s Creation from toxic chemicals. People of unique faith traditions share common, uniting values to protect and care for people who are suffering or who are vulnerable to harm. They share a desire to protect future generations to come. And thirdly they share a commitment to care for the interdependent web of life- human and non-human alike. These shared values allowed diverse groups from states across the country to speak in unison in one letter. See that letter here.

In absence of strong federal legislation or administrative action, states are continuing to address toxics locally and people of faith are part of a movement calling for this reform. In the last few weeks, two states passed exciting bisphenol-a (BPA) legislation. Connecticut became the first state to pass legislation banning BPA from thermal receipt paper. This issue is of particular concern for cash register workers that are touching receipts each minute of the work day. While perhaps only a small exposure results from touching the thermal paper, multiple kinds of exposures to BPA during the day can add up.

On Wednesday, June 22nd, Delaware became the tenth state to ban BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. This shows there is growing awareness and increasing desire from citizens across the country to ensure that baby bottles and sippy cups are indeed safe for babies and small children, whose bodies are still developing. BPA is linked to early puberty in girls, type II diabetes, breast and prostate cancers, heart disease, behavioral changes in children, and other health concerns.

Another chemical of concern is chlorinates tris. Removed from children’s pajamas in the 1970s as a suspected human carcinogen and linked to genetic mutations, chlorinated tris is resurfacing as a substitute for another class of flame retardants used in foam products known as PBDEs. PBDEs are linked to brain and thyroid cancers, developmental disabilities, and it is known to bioaccumulate up the food chain. A recent study of baby foam products found chlorinated tris in 17% of the products tested. Yesterday, New York State became the first state to ban chlorinated tris in baby and children’s products.

These victories are critical for protecting public health and securing a healthy environment for all God’s Creation to thrive for years to come.


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