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Michigan moms roll to the U.S. Capitol for a “National Stroller Brigade”

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Moms, nurses, and families touched by cancer highlight science showing early origins of disease from toxic chemicals
May 22, 2012

Today a group of Michigan moms joined hundreds of people from across the country to demand action on toxic chemicals. The group rallied in support of Senator Frank Lautenberg’s (D-NJ) Safe Chemicals Act, a bill to overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the antiquated law governing industrial chemicals.

The National Stroller Brigade builds on 30 local events in support of the Safe Chemicals Act, in locations as diverse as Little Rock and Omaha. Hundreds of moms – many with children in tow – flew or bused into Washington to deliver over 125,000 petition signatures to their Senators.

Polly Schlaff, a Manistee mother of three boys, told her compelling story about losing her high-school sweetheart to cancer at the age of 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. 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,” she said. Polly is a resident of Western Michigan and planned to visit Senators Stabenow and Levin in the afternoon.

Moms turned out in large numbers in response to an investigative series by the Chicago Tribune, which exposed the chemical industry’s deceptive lobbying tactics to protect toxic chemicals. The moms divided up by state and the Michigan moms delivered thousands of petition signatures to Senators Stabenow and Levin, asking them to support the Safe Chemicals Act.

“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.”

Joyce Stein, a neonatal nurse from Brooklyn, Michigan attended the Stroller Brigade as well. “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. 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 event shows the diverse support for the Safe Chemicals Act, bringing together people from over 30 states and with varied political backgrounds. The Safe Chemicals Act is awaiting a vote in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Participants at today’s event hope to add urgency and pressure to this pending vote.

For more information, contact: Rebecca Meuninck, 734-369-9278, rebecca@ecocenter.org