Healthy Babies Bright Futures is working in a variety of ways to help reduce exposure to toxic chemicals and the resulting damage to developing babies’ brains. This problem can be solved if we all take action both as individuals and together as a movement of concerned citizens. That means:
What can we do about lead in tap water?
The tragedy in Flint, Michigan is drawing public attention to the serious but under-recognized importance of tap water as an important source of lead exposure. That’s why we are teaming up with Dr. Marc Edwards – the scientist who helped identify and expose unsafe lead levels in Flint – and his Virginia Tech laboratory to offer affordable home water testing to families.
The short term solution is to test your water.
If your water test shows that you have lead in your water, the immediate solution is a filter. Look for a filter certified by NSF to remove lead. Pitcher filters and carbon filters that attach to the end of the faucet are among the most affordable types. Maintain your filter at least as often as is recommended by the manufacturer to keep it effective.
The long term solution to the lead in tap water problem comes in two parts:
More protective EPA drinking water rules and more Congressional investment in water infrastructure.
First, the US EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule --- the regulation that is supposed to protect us from lead in drinking water -- is up for revision right now. We need to tell EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy that the revised rule needs to do what it is supposed to do; protect us, our families and our communities from the preventable problem of lead in drinking water. The revisions must close the loopholes that allow local systems to claim that water is safe when it isn’t and mandate the full replacement of lead service lines.
Second, many House and Senate members of both parties are responding to the Flint Crisis by proposing bills that provide funding for water infrastructure, including lead service line replacement.
Tell the EPA and your elected representatives in Washington DC to strengthen the rules and provide the funding to make our drinking water lead-free.
Other Toxic Chemicals
When we reduce exposures to “brain drain” chemicals we increase the opportunity of children to reach their full intellectual and behavioral potential. When pesticides, air pollution and toxic flame retardants and other neurotoxic chemicals go down, the likelihood of a Bright Future goes way up.
What will it take to create this solution?
There are actions each of us can personally take to lower our family’s exposures to brain-drain chemicals. Taking off your shoes before you bring pesticides and other toxic chemicals into your home actually makes a difference. So does eating salmon and sardines instead of tuna and swordfish to lower your mercury exposure. Healthy Babies Bright Futures is putting together the Healthy Babies Action Planner (coming soon) to give you tips on the most important steps you can take to lower your family’s exposures to chemicals that can harm a baby’s brain.
There are also actions that we need to take together: We need to combine all of our individual power as shoppers, as community members and as voters. The combination of powers is needed to convince our government to get toxic chemicals out of our water supply and to pressure a baby food company to stop selling arsenic containing products.