Original article written by David Halperin for the Huffington Post. Find the original version here.
Late last week, hundreds of organizations and people sent a letter to President Obamawarning that his administration is running of time to act on an issue long-identified by the president as essential to our national security and public safety: protecting our people from the dangers of accidents or deliberate attacks at U.S. chemical plants.
Article by the Public News Service, find the original story here.
FRANKFORT, Ky. - It's supposed to be a safe place to learn, but a new report finds that two out of every five Kentucky children attend schools inside what chemical companies call a "vulnerability zone."
Sean Moulton, director of Open Government Policy program with the Center for Effective Government, says the level of risk associated with a particular chemical facility has to do with the quantity of chemicals being handled, how dangerous they are, and the proximity of the facility to population centers.
"They estimate how far a major accident could reach outside of their facility," says Moulton. "Then, that becomes the radius of a circular zone around the facility, and everyone inside that zone is potentially at risk."
On Tuesday, October 29th, four representatives from KEF converged on Washington, DC, as part of the Stroller Brigade for Safer Chemicals at the U.S. Capitol. There, along with a hundred-plus crowd of mothers, health professionals and policy advocates from across the country, they participated in a rally before moving on to meet with members of Kentucky's congressional delegation.
KEF Community Educators Beth Ruggles of Lexington and Dr. Monica Unseld of Louisville carried the message of toxic chemical reform to Kentucky's legislators. "As a mother, I know how challenging it is to find products that are free of toxic chemicals," Ruggles said. "It's time that Washington gets back to business and passes strong laws on this issue."
Information gathered by advocates investigating toxic chemicals in food, baby products, toys, furniture, construction materials and other consumer goods was unveiled on a brand new website today to help Kentucky shoppers, including families, builders and others, learn how to identify potentially harmful products and find safer ones. SafeMarkets.org reflects the work of the Kentucky Environmental Foundation and other organizations across the country that are working to remove toxic chemicals from the marketplace and promote an economy based on safe, sustainable products.
"We at KEF have been concerned about toxics in products we use every day for some time," says Elizabeth Crowe, the foundation's executive director. "We've found lead in lipstick, bisphenol-A (BPA) in canned foods and sodas, and other toxics in products--all of which are dangerous to the health of families across Kentucky. All this information can be found on the new SafeMarkets.org website."
Today a coalition of health, environmental and small business groups held a press conference on the urgent need for more protection from toxic chemicals. Their statements helped to frame a U.S. Senate Committee Hearing to be held on Wednesday, focused on the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA).
To listen to the press conference, go to the Louisville Charter website. You can also read the accompanying press release.
KEF has partnered with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families on a new campaign to raise awareness about toxic chemicals in consumer products. The Mind the Store campaign is asking the ten biggest retailers to get tough on the Hazardous 100+ toxic chemicals, which are often found in everyday products like cosmetics, household cleaners, baby lotions and furniture. We know that individual consumers can move the market, so imagine what would happen if major retailer started to ask their suppliers to stop using toxic chemicals.
Join us by signing a letter to these retailers, asking them to get tough on toxics and protect our families.
Written by KEF Board Member Monica Unseld to the Louisville Courier-Journal. Find the original letter to the editor here.
In today's world, we spend so much time lobbying and criticizing our politicians for what we would like them to do that we often neglect to praise them for a job well done. I would like to publicly thank Reps. Mary Lou Marzian, Ruth Ann Palumbo, Joni L. Jenkins, Tom Riner and Susan Westrom for cosponsoring House Bill 287 and fighting for the health of Kentucky's families.
Had it passed, HB 287 would have helped to protect Kentuckians from the toxic chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA, which is found in canned foods, beverage containers and even thermal receipt paper. BPA has been linked to numerous forms of cancer, reproductive issues, obesity, developmental disabilities and heart disease, all of which have impacted the lives of Kentucky families in some way.
HB 287 proposed to ban the manufacturing, sale and distribution of any reusable food container made with the toxic chemical bisphenol-A (BPA), including infant food or baby formula storage containers. Instead of BPA, manufacturers would have been required to use a non-toxic alternative.
I hope that this vital piece of legislation will gain more traction next semester and withstand the assault of opponents that are tied to the powerful chemical industry lobby. But in the meantime, I salute Marzian, Palumbo, Jenkins, Riner and Westrom for standing for Kentucky families.
MONICA UNSELD, PH.D.
Kentucky Environmental Foundation Board Member
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