I’m starting to feel like a broken record, but I guess that’s what happens when you really care about something. Children are a vulnerable population. They eat more food, breathe more air, and drink more liquids per pound than adults. They are also more curious exploring the world around them in more tactile ways than the rest of us. This all means that children are more susceptible to the impacts of toxic chemicals. While all of this is happening in our own communities, our nation lacks important laws to prevent children from going to school on, near, or inside sources of pollution.
The Center for Health, Environment, and Justice (CHEJ) has been calling for action and standing up for children’s health for 30 years. Today, CHEJ is asking concerned parents (and non-parents alike) to sign on to a letter to Mrs. Michelle Obama. The First Lady’s Lets Move campaign is getting children away from the TV by encouraging them to get active by playing sports, gardening, and eating healthy food in order to combat children obesity. Really good stuff. CHEJ thinks this campaign could be even better by expressing the need to eliminate toxic chemicals and sources of pollution from where children play, learn, and grow.
Join CHEJ and ask Mrs. Obama to strengthen the Let’s Move campaign to acknowledge that in some places in the US the air outside is so polluted that sometimes getting active can trigger asthma and expose children to nasty chemicals.
As CHEJ’s letter to the First Lady states, “new schools and playgrounds are still being built on or near toxic contaminated land across the country, although there is an effort by the EPA to establish a policy that provides guidance for school districts on safe school siting issues. Unfortunately, these are just guidelines and are intended only for schools, not playgrounds and other areas where children commonly are active. Siting schools on or near sources of environmental contamination as well as a lack of comprehensive remediation of already contaminated schools will only broaden the scope of childhood health concerns such as obesity.”
Toxic chemicals released from things like incinerators, coal fire power plants, and pesticide spraying can cause reproductive and developmental disorders at an important point in life, ultimately impacting the health and economy of the entire community. But by reducing the amount of toxic chemicals our children are exposed to in the first place, we are providing our children with a better quality of life and our community with a greater chance of success.
For a toxic free future,