Children & Chemicals: A Major Issue with Simple Steps toward a Solution
Did you know that babies are born with more than 200 man-made industrial chemicals in their blood?
Did you know many of the consumer products we use, from cosmetics to foods to household products, contribute to this phenomenon?
When you look at a label on a cleaning product, do you truly understand what you are reading as well as you do when reading a food label?
Chances are, "No, I don't," is your answer. Many people are unaware of the relationship between frequently used products and our health. Seventh Generation is one of the companies that wants to change that.
A champion of ingredients disclosure, Seventh Generation recently hosted an interactive discussion on the topic of chemicals and our children. The conversation, held in mid-October at the Boston Children's Museum, featured Jane Houlihan, vice president of research at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene, and Courtney Loveman, of Seventh Generation. It was moderated by EMMY award-winning environmental journalist Simran Sethi.
Parents and caretakers, children, healthcare providers, academics, and media turned out for an engaging and informative evening. We learned very quickly that the concept of chemicals and our children is scary, but it is a problem we must recognize -- and do everything we can to solve.
The most important takeaways from the discussion follow:
According to Jane Houlihan and the Environmental Working Group's research, man-made chemicals that our bodies harbor -- otherwise known as the "body burden" -- are directly linked to the rise in birth defects, cancer, and infertility.
Additionally, the EWG research explains that even at its smallest dose, any chemical can cause an effect. Think of various medications you've taken. Even a tiny bit can have life-impacting consequences. The same can be said for dangerous chemicals in what we digest, inhale, or absorb.
Dr. Greene pointed out that manufacturers of consumer goods are not required to disclose ingredients unless they are of a certain toxicity. Additionally, many companies who list ingredients intentionally omit dangerous chemicals, falling back on intellectual property and confidentiality as the excuse. This is particularly frightening when you see labels boasting, "Warning!" or "Danger. Keep away from children."
"The good news is that environmental triggers mean there are environmental solutions," Dr. Greene said to nods from the crowd.