By Martha Moriarty, LDA Minnesota
I'm a "Minnesota Mom" and glad to be one.
This week I had the honor of being a part of the National Stroller Brigade, a march to support the Safe Chemicals Act in Washington, D.C. Prior to leaving for the event, I saw the trip as part of my job. You see, I work at LDA Minnesota, a nonprofit helping children, youth, adults, and families with learning and attention difficulties, including learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders. LDA Minnesota advocates for toxic chemical reform because many of these chemicals are neurotoxins and can lead to learning and developmental disabilities in our children. The children and families we help face a lifetime of challenges including learning to read, managing relationships, and holding a job. I was traveling to the Stroller Brigade on behalf of over 3,000 children and families we help each year who struggle with learning and ADHD.
Micaela of Mindful Momma and Martha get ready to head in to their meeting with Senator Franken's staff.
However, after being a part of the Stroller Brigade and spending two days with a group of moms (and a few dads) who are all concerned about toxic chemicals in everyday products, especially children's products, I've embraced my role as a proud "Minnesota Mom" and see that this issue extends beyond my professional life. It's an issue close to home, too. It touches my life as a mom of two young children that I hope will live healthy, long lives, and as a daughter of a parent who is battling cancer.
I'm lucky to live in a state that has passed laws to protect our children from toxic chemicals in everyday products, like the BPA-ban in sippy cups and baby bottles. I feel lucky to have Senators who both have signed on as co-sponsors of the Safe Chemicals Act, a proposed law that would ensure that chemicals are safe and tested before they end up in consumer products. And, I feel lucky to have the Healthy Legacy coalition and Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families working on my behalf to pass these laws to protect our children now and into the future.
But much work still lies ahead. The Minnesota Department of Health has released a list of nine priority chemicals that are harmful to our health and continue to be a source of exposure for kids. As a mom and an advocate, I want all Minnesota kids to be safe from exposure to these and other harmful chemicals. And more than that, I want to live in a country where our health is valued and protected. That's why we urgently need action on the Safe Chemicals Act, too.
As I boarded the plane to head home to our beautiful state, full of natural resources and above-average citizens, I put my "mom hat" back on and began thinking about what to cook for dinner, what time I had to pick up the kids from school and daycare, and when I was going to fit in grocery shopping before the holiday weekend arrives. But I stopped for a moment and recognized that all of the moms I met in D.C. must not put away our Stroller Brigade work for too long. This work of protecting our families needs to happen. The time is now to pass the Safe Chemicals Act and we can't let the momentum slow, we must continue to raise our voices and demand the change that is so urgently needed to protect our families.