In 2009 I participated in my first triathlon. It was much more than a triathlon for me; it was a dedication to a 5 year old boy who was diagnosed with cancer while in preschool with my youngest son. My second triathlon was done in his memory. After a tragic and long battle with neuroblastoma, a rare form of childhood cancer, 5 year old Matty was laid to rest. The impact on Matty’s family and our community was profound and many of us continue to carry the weight of this loss with us today and forever.
Not surprisingly, the word ‘cancer’ is surrounded by some daunting statistics. Around 41 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. About 12,060 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2012. Since 1975 cancer in American children has increased, especially childhood leukemia and brain cancer.
As cancer rates continue to soar, toxic chemicals continue to make their way into our products with minimal government regulation. There is increasing evidence that these chemicals are impacting this surge in cancer cases.
No family should have to go through what Matty’s family, and countless other families, are forced to endure. Companies are adding cancer causing chemicals to their products and there are no repercussions.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Make our own cleaning supplies.
Cleaning product companies aren’t required to tell us the chemicals they use in their products, and what they’re keeping secret from you could be hazardous to your health. Women’s Voices for the Earth, in a commissioned study, found hidden toxic chemicals in some of the most popular cleaning supply companies. Until we know what’s in the products we buy off the shelf, we can mix our own with safe ingredients like vinegar and baking soda.
Use the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.
Before heading to the store to pick up new personal care products, try using Skin Deep. Skin Deep is a safety guide to cosmetics and personal care products put together by researchers at the Environmental Working Group. It’s one of my fav resources. I use it for all my makeup and personal care products. I can’t tell you the number of times I bought something and checked it out on Skin Deep, only to find it was extremely toxic.
Open our windows.
It’s finally spring! Many of our homes and apartments were built to be air tight. This might sound like great modern day advancements in building, but in reality it keeps the toxins in and the fresh air out. It’s time to open up those windows and doors to let the fresh air flow.
Take our shoes off.
In our house we are attempting to contain the toxin filled outdoors by declaring our home a “shoe free zone”. All shoes come off in the garage and they stay there until the next time we venture out.
Sign a petition or two.
Like many moms, my commitment to a greener lifestyle was strengthened after having children. I’m careful about what we eat, and am selective about products we use to keep our home clean. A report released by Women’s Voices for Earth, Dirty Secrets: What’s Hiding in Your Cleaning Products? found high levels of the cancer-causing chemical 1,4-dioxane in Tide Free & Gentle®. Please sign my PETITION asking Procter & Gamble (makers of Tide) to strip this harmful cancer-causing chemical out of Tide Free & Gentle®!
While you’re on a roll take a few seconds to sign Anna from Green Talk’s PETITION requesting that strict guidelines be enacted immediately to reduce arsenic in rice and food related products.
Ask congress for help
Toxic chemicals are pervasive in our daily lives, and despite our best efforts to purchase products free of toxic chemicals, we’re still routine exposed through the air, water and our home environment. Due to lax federal laws, industry chemicals are not tested or regulated for health and safety
We need all congressional candidates to know that the American public cares deeply about increased regulations on toxic chemicals. Ask your Congressional candidates to reject the chemical industry’s agenda and support the Safer Chemicals Agenda.
What are some other ways we can reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals?
This post is part of this month’s Green Moms Carnival –How to Keep Toxic Chemicals Out of Your Home– which I’m hosting! The carnival goes live Monday, March 19, 2012. Be sure to stop back for lots of great tips and suggestions for keeping toxic chemicals out of your home.
Photo © Ken Hurst – Fotolia.com