Strong Support for Protecting American Families from Toxic Chemicals
January 5, 2012
This essay is in response to: Public Health and the Safe Chemicals Act
It’s in the nature of Washington politics to make things
controversial. In fact, this city thrives on controversy these days.
But when it comes to protecting American families from toxic
chemicals, the support is widespread. To those in Washington, toxics work has
traditionally been led by the environmental community, concerned about toxic
waste in our water supply, building up in the environment, and compromising the
very land and wildlife many of us enjoy.
More recently however, the support for reforming our
nation’s out of date system for managing chemicals has grown in breadth and
diversity. The Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition is a testament to
the growing movement of Americans tired of toxic pollution from their products,
communities, workplaces, and more.
Our coalition has a diverse cross section of health,
environmental, parent, business, and environmental justice leaders. So strong
is the public health support that our coalition not only represents health
professionals like those in Physicians for Social Responsibility and the
National Medical Association, we also have support from health affected groups
like the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, the Learning Disabilities Association
of America, and Breast Cancer Fund. (For a full list of nearly 300 supporting
organizations visit www.saferchemicals.org/aboutus.)
In addition, the work we’ve done in our coalition translates
to support for the Safe Chemicals Act, a bill to reform our out of date law
governing chemicals. The field program of our coalition shows that not only are
public health and community leaders advocating for common sense limits on toxic
chemicals, but moms, dads, and individuals like you are rallying across the
From Arkansas to Wisconsin, Tennessee to Idaho, support is
strong for the Safe Chemicals Act. This summer and fall 29 mom-led “stroller
brigades” took place across the country, where moms and children came together
to ask Congress to be their heroes and support the Safe Chemicals Act.
Public opinion polling also continues to affirm that this
issue plays well with the American public, and is a strong issue for
politicians to get out front of. In the last few years, five of the country’s
leading pollsters have found that support for reform, specifically regulating
chemicals, is wildly popular with the American public.
Mark Mellman, Drew Westen, Lori Wiegel, and Celinda Lake are
some of the leading pollsters who have researched this issue. Their results all
speak to the potency and wide range of support for this issue. To see some of
the results of the Mark Mellman poll, click here.
The country’s leading Republican polling firm, Public
Opinion Strategies, conducted a poll in New Hampshire this fall and sums it up
well: "The fact that a majority of Tea Party members -- a sub-group which
typically rejects government regulation -- is supportive of government action
speaks volumes about the desire for updating regulations of toxic chemicals,”
said Lori Weigel, a partner at Public Opinion Strategies, who conducted the poll.
So while we hardly need Washington pollsters to tell us that
Americans are concerned about the role chemicals play in our health, it only
reinforces the message to Congress that the time is now to act.
The question remains, will Congress seize this opportunity
to protect Americans from toxic chemicals? We hope so, and in the meantime our
coalition will continue to grow.