Michigan moms push strollers in push for chemical policy reform

'National Stroller Brigade' delivers 125,000 petition signatures to Senate

A group of Michigan moms pushing strollers joined hundreds of other concerned citizens to deliver more than 125,000 petition signatures demanding action on toxic chemicals in Washington last week.

The National Stroller Brigade followed 30 events across the country in support of the Safe Chemicals Act,  a bill introduced by Sen. Frank Lautenberg to overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the antiquated law governing industrial chemicals.

“TSCA has failed to prevent the Great Lakes waterways, ecosystems and people from being contaminated by toxic chemicals,” said Rebecca Meuninck, environmental health campaign director for the Ecology Center and Michigan Network for Children’s Environmental Health. “Exposure to toxic chemicals early in a child’s life can increase their risk for some forms of cancer, infertility, learning and developmental disabilities, and other diseases.”

One of the Michigan moms, Polly Schlaff, a mother of three boys from Manistee, told about losing her high-school sweetheart to cancer at 35. “My husband’s cancer had no genetic links, a fact both reassuring and troubling to a single mother bent on protecting her children from illness," Schlaff said. "No genetic flaw predisposes my sons to Ewing’s sarcoma, yet every day they, along with millions of other American children, they are exposed to known and suspected carcinogens. This is unacceptable.”

Joyce Stein, a neonatal nurse from Brooklyn, Michigan also attended the Stroller Brigade. “In my 30 years of nursing, I have become increasingly concerned with the role of toxic chemicals in various birth defects, especially those affecting the male reproductive track," she said. "From a public health perspective, it is baffling that we would allow toxic chemicals on to the market without any health and safety testing.”

The National Stroller Brigade and the campaign to reform TSCA were given extra prominence recently by an extraordinary series of articles in the Chicago Tribune, whose investigation revealed widespread deception and corruption by the American chemical industry to protect toxic chemicals from regulation. Lautenberg's Safe Chemicals Act is currently under consideration by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

EcoLink — May 2012 Ecolink
An online publication of the Ecology Center

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