You are not alone. Take comfort (and discomfort) in the fact that you share this problem with the vast majority of Americans. We’re not talking about your passive aggressive sister-in-law, or the charming so-and-so who swept you off your feet and then left town with your life savings. We are are referring to the fresh-smelling, easy-going, and utterly irresistible toxic products we spend our time with at home, at work, and everywhere we go.
Bobbi Chase Wilding, from New York, struck a nerve with an article that she posted on the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families blog, Caught in a Toxic Trap where she admitted to her inability to let go of her toxic flame retardant-stuffed yet wonderful rocking-reclining love seat. Bobbi makes a great point: Even if it’s your job to know about which toxic chemicals lurk in what products, it can be hard to kick them to the curb. Our marketplace is set up so that products with harmful chemicals in them are almost always the more convenient, affordable, and seductive choice.
Reading Bobbi’s blog sparked a liberating discussion amongst some of the members of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families campaign—many of them confessed to their own toxic relationships. They reported a giddy moment of solidarity, and began to sharing their own stories, photos, and videos with the hope of inspiring others to offer up their own tales of toxic entanglement. We love it, we’re adopting their idea, and we hope that you’ll share your stories too.
These stories are meant to be fun, but they also serve a serious purpose: showing decision makers in Boston and Washington D.C. that we are highly frustrated and expect them to get tough on toxics. Our personal, heartfelt words are more effective than a room full of polling results, scientific studies, and professional lobbyists.
Clean Water Action’s Massachusetts Legislative Director, Elizabeth Saunders, has set the ball rolling on the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow website with her tales navigating toxic products with her roomates: A non-toxic kitchen can be hard to come by.
You have a story to tell, don’t you? Go ahead, take a picture of yourself or your family posing with the toxic product you haven’t quite let go of—yet. Then write a short caption explaining why it’s so hard to say goodbye. And if you are ready to get the whole sordid tale off your chest, we strongly encourage you to give us a few paragraphs. We want to hear every detail (especially if you found a healthier replacement). We will post it on the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow web site, you can share it on your own Facebook page, and we will be sure to show your story to those with the power to actually do something: the Massachusetts legislature and Congress. Post your photo and story on the AHT facebook page, or email it to us and we’ll make it live.
Once you are through poking fun at yourself, there are several ways you can join our campaign and influence policy.
Our ultimate goal? To demonstrate that, no matter how well-informed or well-intentioned, we cannot kick this problem by ourselves. No matter how many dysfunctional products we decide to break up with, there will always be more, lurking anonymously in less obvious places like jumpy castles, kids jewelry, and wallpaper.
We need to band together and ask both the Massachusetts Legislature and Congress to create strong chemical management systems that prevent toxic chemicals from getting into the marketplace in the first place. Our health, and our hearts, can’t take it any more.