Please Help: Your Support is Needed to Reduce Toxics in the Environment—by March 31

Dear Friends and Advocates,

 

We need your help! Please join in supporting Christian Principles concerning toxics in the environment and in sending a letter to Congress urging them to give the FDA authority to ensure cosmetic safety—IT’S A MATTER OF FAITH! Learn more below.

 

Hoping you will act—and share this message with your friends (petitions for each action are available as well–click here for Christian Principles, click here for the cosmetics letter). March 31 is our deadline. If you have already signed on, thank you for your support.

 

Christian Principles for a Healthy Body and Spirit

 

The Pennsylvania Council of Churches’ Ministry of Public Witness is working with the National Council of Churches’ Eco-Justice program to raise awareness of the problem of toxics in the environment, and to enlist support for a statement of “Christian Principles for a Healthy Body and Spirit.” It calls for government policies concerning toxic substances that protect creation, protect human health, provide justice for vulnerable populations, and promote sustainability. The Council invites you to endorse the statement by March 31 at http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5415/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=2204.

 

Support Cosmetic Safety in Letter to Congress

 

The Council’s public witness program is also seeking signatures from women for a letter to Members of Congress urging them to ensure that the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the authority to ensure cosmetic safety by March 31. Women may sign on at http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5415/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=2281; men will find a link where they can offer their support as well.

 

Please join the effort to protect God’s creation from the dangers of toxic chemicals. Questions? Feel free to contact me at (717) 545-4761 or s.strauss@pachurches.org.

 

We need to reform our nation’s chemical policy- It’s a matter of faith

 

Problem

 

The Toxic Substances Control Act (1976) was developed to regulate the safety of industrial chemicals. Originally 62,000 chemicals were grandfathered in and another 20,000 were introduced to the market in the last thirty years. Under TSCA, the EPA has only tested 200 chemicals for safety and banned only 5 classes of chemicals.

 

New science in the last decade demonstrates that some chemicals are harmful at low levels that current risk assessment is not testing for. This means that chemicals we once thought were safe are not any longer. We need to reform the regulatory system so that chemicals are tested before they go onto the market, give authority to the EPA to ban chemicals when they find them to be unsafe for children, develop a list of chemicals to test each year so that harmful chemicals are moved off the market in place of safe alternatives, and invest in a clean green economy. In these ways we can protect all of God’s Creation- from tadpoles to humans.

 

We are working with the National Council of Churches and other faith-based organizations across the country to change our chemical policies to make the products we use, the food we eat, and the air we breathe safer for all of God’s people and the whole of Creation. We are hosting educational presentations, sharing educational materials, and mobilizing the faith community to learn more about how to mitigate exposure to toxics and find ways to help make our world healthier for generations of today and tomorrow.

 

This is an issue of faith because:

 

We are taught to protect God’s Creation. Some of these chemicals end up in God’s Creation. Some of these chemicals bioaccumulate, becoming more toxic as they move up the food chain. Others persist for long periods of time in the waterways and soil.

 

We are taught to care for our bodies. Chemicals are in the air we breathe, the water we drink, food we eat and products in our homes and churches. Is it no wonder that studies have found an average of 200 chemicals in the cord blood of a newborn? Some chemicals of concern are known to cause or linked to a number of health conditions prevalent in our society such as learning and developmental disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and fertility challenges.

 

We are called to care for the most vulnerable among us.

  • We are called to care for all of God’s children and future generations. Children are vulnerable because their bodies are still developing. Additionally they take more breaths than adults, sometimes breathing in dirty air. Chemical exposure in the womb or as young children to chemicals found in products, the air they breathe, and the food they eat can also impact how and when genes are expressed, affecting timing of puberty or propensity towards weight gain as just a few examples. Some gene mutations can actually be passed to future generations.
  • We are called to minister to low income communities and communities of color. These communities can face a “double burden” of exposure because often times they live near toxic waste sites or polluting industries that contaminate the air, land, and water. Products found in the dollar store may also contain chemicals of concern. Additionally some products marketed towards communities of color contain particularly toxic chemicals such as hair straighteners and skin lighteners.
  • Women are also vulnerable to toxic chemicals as they tend to have more fat cells than men and some chemicals build up in fatty tissue. Additionally, pregnant women exposed to toxic chemicals may pass these chemicals on to her fetus.
  • We are called to care for the sick. Currently billions of dollars are spent on healthcare costs when we could help prevent some of the risks to these illnesses by reducing exposures to toxic chemicals linked to prevalent diseases.
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