Photo of a mother smiling at baby, held by dad

Declaring (the need for) Independence (from toxic chemicals)

July 1, 2016

It’s summer. It’s Friday. It’s the start of a holiday weekend. But something really important is happening today:

Today, July 1, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the National Medical Association, and 50 of the nation’s top scientists, health professionals, and children’s and environmental health advocates are publishing a statement in Environmental Health Perspectives.

The statement is a unanimous agreement among experts. That’s an amazing achievement all by itself. But way more important is the message of that unanimous agreement: That the scientific evidence is now strong enough to connect the presence of toxic chemicals in everyday products, food and air to neurodevelopmental disorders in children. Neurodevelopmental disorders include autism spectrum disorder, attention deficits, hyperactivity, and learning disabilities. Here is the full consensus statement.

To put it simply: The scientists and doctors agree that chemicals like lead, phthalates, and toxic flame retardants are part of the reason that so many children have these serious problems. And that we can protect many children from these different learning and behavior disorders by lowering the levels of exposures to these chemicals. A big hairy problem matched with a doable solution. Isn’t that a big deal?

Healthy Babies Bright Futures can help you get started doing your part to solve this problem. Here’s four things you can do between picnicking and firework displays this weekend:

1. Spread the word. Share and discuss the statement with as many people as possible both online and off. Use Facebook, Twitter, email, or any other online platform to involve your family, friends, coworkers, elected officials, and doctors’ office.

2. Protect your family and yourself. Order or donate a lead in water action kit from HBBF to test the water in your home or to pay for a kit for a family in need. Beyond just results, these affordable and informative kits deliver customized action items and steps needed to decrease exposure to lead.

3. Learn what products are safe. Use HBBF’s free products guide to help you select everyday household items that are safe and that will help to lower your exposures to toxics at home.

4. Convince the government to protect you. Replacing the lead water pipes under the street and banning phthalates as a food additive aren’t things we can do for ourselves. We need public officials who are committed to protecting communities from chemicals that are hurting babies’ brains. Sign the petition to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to stop the use of phthalates in food equipment and packaging. And sign up here to join with Healthy Babies Bright Futures in an ongoing effort to convince governments and companies to make babies’ futures healthier and brighter.

Happy 4th. Here’s to a future that’s free and independent of chemicals that harm babies’ brains.

Charlotte Brody RN
National Director, Healthy Babies Bright Futures