On April 30, the Toxin Freedom Fighters descended on Congress with our Petition, signed by more than 120,000 Americans calling for meaningful toxic chemical reform.
The fearless Toxin Freedom Fighters were joined on their mission by parent advocates and supporters - including Zach Springer, a board member of Trevor's Trek Foundation which focuses on building awareness of childhood cancer; Heather Buren, a San Francisco firefighter working to raise awareness about toxic chemical exposures among her ranks; Penelope Chaffer, director and producer of the Toxic Baby movie; and John Replogle, Seventh Generation CEO, who pointed out that his team conducted some quick tests around the Senate building during the visit and discovered pervasively high levels of lead.
Also with the group was Kristi Marsh, mother of three and breast cancer survivor who has spent the last several years educating and empowering women to make choices that limit the toxic chemicals in their homes.
"The bottom line is, we can't do it alone," she said. "We need legislation to truly protect our families."
A morning press conference featured remarks by Replogle, Marsh and American Sustainable Business Council President David Levine, on behalf of the Companies for Safer Chemicals coalition.
The chemical industry works under a regulatory Wild West, but it doesn't have to be that way," said Replogle, "We're here to let Congress know that it is good business to be green."
He also called on Congress to protect the most vulnerable among us, including pregnant women, children, workers and communities who are disproportionately exposed to chemicals and require that the public has access to information regarding the safety of chemicals.
Levine reveal data for the first time that demonstrates the economic power of environmentally friendly industry. A preliminary analysis of just a few of the Companies for Safer Chemicals coalition member companies found that they accounted for $1.5 billion in revenue, employed roughly 4,000 people nationwide, and conducted business in all 50 states.
"By sharing the data," said Levine, "We're telling Congress that when they use the term 'industry' while debating TSCA reform, they can't neglect to include green industry and the Companies for Safer Chemicals."
As the day progressed, the Toxin Freedom Fighters rolled their red wagon piled with petitions to the offices of Senators David Vitter, Tom Udall, Barbara Boxer, Kirsten Gillibrand, Bernie Sanders, Edward Markey, Mike Crapo, Patrick Leahy, and Corey Booker. Senator Udall, a leader in brokering toxic chemical reform legislation through Congress, spent a significant amount of time with the kids, their parents and our experts, talking about the petition.
The Toxin Freedom Fighter's visit was capped off with a "clean" reception in a room made spotless with Seventh Generation products. Seventh Generation demonstrations and samples were featured as well as photo opportunities and discussions with the Toxin Freedom speakers, Seventh Generation employees, advocates, Members of Congress and their staff.
We are especially grateful to the parents and advocates who lent their very support to this campaign:
Kristi Marsh, Author, Speaker, and Founder, Choose Wiser
Kristi Marsh is a nationally celebrated speaker gifted at inspiring and empowering audiences. Kristi offers a very unique look on healthier living and an inspiring personal journey. Diagnosed with aggressive stage three breast cancer at age thirty-five, with three young children at home, Kristi has since become the founder and force behind Choose Wiser, and a nationally recognized and celebrated advocate for women's environmental health.
Heather Buren, Lieutenant and Paramedic, San Francisco Fire Department; President, United Fire Service Women (UFSW)
Heather, a mother and San Francisco firefighter, is an outspoken advocate about women's health and chemical exposure. Heather's interest in health and wellness coupled with her grave concern regarding the staggering breast cancer rates among her firefighter community became the catalyst for a fundraising campaign that raised over $40K and helped fund San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation and a local breast cancer advocacy group that supports African American women.
Zach Springer, Board Member, Trevor's Trek Foundation
Zach Springer is a father two boys, Brad and Clark Springer, and a board member of Trevor's Trek Foundation which focuses on building awareness of childhood cancer and supporting research into its cause and prevention. Brad was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma cancer at 3.5 years old and has endured numerous rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, stem cell transplants and 3F8 monoclonal antibody therapy. To date, Brad is a healthy 10 year old and doing well.
Penelope Jagessar Chaffer
Penelope Jagessar Chaffer is the director and producer of the film Toxic Baby. She works to bring to light the issue of environmental chemical pollution and its effect on babies and children. Her first British Academy Award Nomination came for her BBC4 debut, Me and My Dad. After working on 2005's Shakespeare's Stories for the BBC, for which she received a BAFTA nomination, Chaffer was inspired to begin her research on Toxic Baby. Her tireless work educating people about the effects of chemicals is inspiring.
Leigh M. Garofalow
Leigh Garofalow is mother of two children and is an avid environmentalist and activist. She writes Green4u, a blog of green living advice for the average person. She also works with other environmentalist on the Mothers for Sustainable Energy Project in New Jersey.
In the weeks ahead, it's vital that we build on the momentum created by our day on Capitol Hill. We want to show lawmakers that public support continues to grow. Add your signature to the petition and please ask your friends, neighbors and business associates to join you. Every signature we receive strengthens the effort to make meaningful TSCA reform a reality.