Featured Do-Gooder: Healthy Child, Healthy World

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From time to time Smart Green Tips will feature an organization that is a “Do-Gooder”: a group that works to help both people and the environment. The Do-Gooders may be companies, nonprofits, or any organized group that focuses its efforts on making the world a better place.

Healthy Child, Healthy World is a nonprofit devoted to helping protect children from chemical exposure.

Our Mission: We are igniting a movement that inspires parents to protect young children from harmful chemicals.

Not to be missed is their informative and moving video, A Wake-Up Story. It’s only 3 1/2 minutes long and well worth your time.

Their book, Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home was released in paperback; it’s only $10.88 on Amazon. The book covers nearly every aspect of how to make your home and immediate environment safe for your children. The product description from amazon.com provides a good overview:

Inside, you’ll find practical, inexpensive, and easy lifestyle advice for every stage of parenting including:

* Advice on preparing a nontoxic nursery for a new baby
* What every expectant mom needs to do to have a safer pregnancy
* Clarifying which plastics and baby products to avoid and the healthier solutions
* Tips to take to the grocery store, including the most and least pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables and the best healthy kid-approved snacks
* Which beauty care / cosmetic products pose the biggest risk to health
* The best recipes for healthy snacks, low-cost and safe homemade cleaners, and non-toxic art supplies
* How to easily minimize allergens, dust, and lead
* A greener garden, yard, and outdoor spaces
* Tips to keep your pets healthy, and the unwanted pests out naturally
* Renovation ideas, naturally fresher indoor air, and safer sleeping options,
* An 27 page extensive shopper’s guide to most trusted and best products every home needs

Inside is also packed with over 40 featured contributions from renowned doctors, environmental scientists, and public-health experts like Dr. Harvey Karp, Dr Philip Landrigan, and William McDonough, as well as many celebrity parents like Gwyneth Paltrow, Tobey Maguire, Sheryl Crow, Erin Brockovich and Tom Hanks. A special featured contribution from First Lady Michelle Obama on her best ways of coping with her daughter’s asthma.

The Healthy Child, Healthy World website includes loads of information on chemical exposure and what HCHW is doing to help. There is an informative blog with regular updates on topics related to children’s health and environmental toxins. Also on the site, you can download printable pocket guides on topics including baby care; personal care products; sustainability & lifestyle; home, school & office; household & cleaning products; and food & nutrition.

In addition, Healthy Child, Healthy World has partnered with WebMD to create Health eHome, an interactive site that allows you to identify possible health hazards in your home. There is additional information on how to make your home safer and healthier for you and your family.

If you have children, or are concerned about the environmental hazards we’re all exposed to, please visit their siteTheir book has proven to be an invaluable resource to me and would likely be of help to you as well.

 

Featured Do-Gooder: EWG & The Kid-Safe Chemicals Act Project

From time to time Smart Family Tips will feature an organization that is a “Do-Gooder”: a group that works to help both people and the environment. The Do-Gooders may be companies, nonprofits, or any organized group that focuses its efforts on making the world a better place.

This is the second in a series of posts about the Environmental Working Group. Today’s focus is their Kid-Safe Chemicals Act Project. I posted EWG’s 10 Americans video two weeks ago and hope some of you had a chance to watch it. If not, you can find it here.

Why do we need a Kid-Safe Chemicals Act?

According to the EWG, “Babies are born pre-polluted with as many as 300 industrial chemicals in their bodies when they enter the world.” EWG has done extensive testing on a range of people and has identified 455 chemicals in our bodies. The consequences of all of these chemicals in our systems is yet unknown. But there seems to be a direct connection between the introduction of thousands of new chemicals into the products we use, and are exposed to everyday, and the increase in serious diseases.

How has this happened?

The Toxic Substances Control Act, which was first passed in 1976, immediately deemed safe some 62,000 chemicals with virtually no data to confirm this. Since then, another 20,000 chemicals have been introduced — again with little to no data confirming their safety. The TSCA has not been amended since its inception. Currently, under federal law, chemicals do not have to be proven safe to enter or stay in the consumer market. EWG cites the ramifications of the current law: “neither manufacturers nor the EPA are required to prove a chemical’s safety as a condition of use.”

How can this be fixed?

With the Kids Safe Chemicals Act as a start. The Act will involve a “fundamental overhaul of our nation’s chemical regulatory law.” From EWG’s website

Specifically, the Kid-Safe Chemicals Act:

  • requires that industrial chemicals be safe for infants, kids and other vulnerable groups;
  • requires that new chemicals be safety tested before they are sold;
  • requires chemical manufacturers to test and prove that the 62,000 chemicals already on the market that have never been tested are safe in order for them to remain in commerce;
  • requires EPA to review “priority” chemicals, those which are found in people, on an expedited schedule;
  • requires regular biomonitoring to determine what chemicals are in people and in what amounts;
  • requires regular updates of health and safety data and provides EPA with clear authority to request additional information and tests;
  • provides incentives for manufacturers to further reduce health hazards;
  • requires EPA to promote safer alternatives and alternatives to animal testing;
  • protects state and local rights; and
  • requires that this information be publicly available.

What can we, as individuals, do?

One thing that was underscored by last week’s Do-Gooder, WE ADD UP, is that each person counts. It’s easy to think, “I’m only one person, what can I do?” but it’s one person and then another and then another. . . We really do add up. If enough of us tell our elected officials in Washington that we want stronger chemical regulation and testing, it will happen.

photo credit: www.ewg.org/kidsafe