Our country is facing large challenges when it comes to our health. Learning and developmental disabilities, infertility, and childhood and young adult cancer are on the rise. Some are even calling puberty at the age of ten a new “normal.”
The good news is many of these health trends could be prevented if we took a serious look at addressing toxic chemicals in this country. The law governing how chemicals are regulated, or lack thereof, hasn’t been updated since the 1970s and falls short of protecting our most vulnerable New Mexico communities.
Toxic chemicals are used in a variety of consumer products we encounter every day in our homes, communities and workplaces. Carcinogens appear in our soap, building materials, and plastics. Formaldehyde is commonly used in “wrinkle-free” clothing and hormone-disrupting chemicals can be found in many of our personal care products.
There is an ever-growing market of “safer” and “less toxic” products, but often those labels are misleading and the products are more expensive.
So while many New Mexico families have a hard enough time keeping food on the table, how can we expect them to pay a higher price for consumer products that may or may not be free of toxic chemicals?
Regardless of your income level or where you live, we all deserve to know chemicals we encounter everyday are tested for their health effects prior to entering the market place.
There is a common sense solution that would remove the unjust economic hurdle to safer, healthier products. The Safe Chemicals Act (S.847) is a bill that would increase the safety of chemicals in this country and would address many of the concerns our communities face. We applaud Sen. Tom Udall’s public support of the Safe Chemicals Act and encourage him to help a strong version of this bill move through Congress.
All New Mexico families deserve to be protected from toxic chemicals. Our history of chemical and weapons research, mining, fossil fuel, and oil and gas development impacts are well known. Our health is at stake and if we have the opportunity to prevent even a few chronic illnesses each year, we have the moral obligation to do so.