Moms and cancer survivors parked their strollers in front of the U.S. Capitol today as part of the "Stroller Brigade" to demand that Congress take action to help regulate toxic chemicals that are found in everyday items used by children.
The group called on Congress to pass N.J. Sen. Frank Lautenberg's Safe Chemicals Act, a bill to overhaul old laws governing toxic chemicals.
"As a consumer I am woefully unequipped to protect my family," said Polly Schlaff, whose son was born with a urological birth defect caused by prenatal exposure to environmental estrogen. "Worse yet, because of the utter failure of federal laws, I must rely on the chemical industry to protect my family from the hidden dangers of the more than 800,000 chemicals they produce and manufacture."
Out of 800,000 chemicals in the nation, only 200 have been reviewed for safety. Five percent of pediatric cancers are caused by exposure of toxic chemicals, while 10 percent of neurological disorders and 30 percent of childhood asthma cases are associated with hazardous chemicals from hundreds of everyday products, including detergents, household cleaners and baby bottles.
The Lautenberg bill would require chemical makers to prove their products are safe before they end up in children's bodies.
"Our current law allows too many untested chemicals on the market," Lautenberg said at the rally today. "We want to have a responsible oversight and regulation of the chemical industry giving the EPA the authority … so that chemical companies will be required to tell what is in the chemical and what testing has been done."
Lautenberg is pushing for a vote on his bill in the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, and if it gets out of that committee, it could go the full Senate for a vote.