Op-ed: CT bill could help keep our children safe from toxins

“America’s children are at risk of becoming the first generation in a century to live shorter, less healthy lives than their parents.” – Dr. Philip Landrigan, Mt. Sinai Children’s Hospital

This statement should be a wake-up call for all of us.

Today babies are born with, on average, more than 200 industrial chemicals in their blood, including those linked to cancer, impairment of the brain and nervous system and disruptors of hormone systems. Half of men and one-third of women now living will receive a cancer diagnosis in their lifetimes. A large body of scientific evidence, including Dr. Landrigan’s distinguished work, links exposure to toxic chemicals in consumer products, beginning in the womb, with the rise in many serious diseases we are seeing in this country.

None of us should be at peace with these findings.

Connecticut was the first in the nation to pass the broadest bans on bisphenol-A (BPA), a known hormone disruptor, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

There are hundreds of toxic chemicals in consumer products we use every day, and we now know that the unintended consequences of these chemicals is that many leach out, get into our home air and dust and are absorbed or ingested.

Children are the most vulnerable. Parents and their newborns are contaminated without consent and have little information in choosing products that are potentially harmful. For too long, industry has failed to provide warnings on the presence of these chemicals and the health risks to our most precious human beings.

The Coalition for Safe & Healthy CT is working to pass HB 5354, An Act Concerning Chemicals of High Concern to Children, and has launched the Campaign for Toxic-Free Kids.

I urge our legislators to take action this session to see that HB 5354 is passed. We have a right to know what is in the products we buy, and we count on our government to pass policies that protect our health. Our children deserve nothing less!

Joyce Acebo-Raguskus of Milford is a citizen advocate with Clean Water Action and the Coalition for a Safe & Healthy CT.

Note: A press conference on this bill is slated for 10 a.m. Thursday in Room 1A at the Legislative Office Building, and a public hearing will be at noon in Children’s Committee, Room 2B.

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