Chemicals endangering our children

By Kathy Kuhl

It’s not just parents in Flint, Michigan, who need to keep an eye on what their children are exposed to. But until a crisis looms, who thinks to look into these things? Who has time?

We parents of kids with learning challenges especially can be so busy helping our kids keep or recover the joy of learning, explore their gifts, and master reading, writing, math, communication, or whatever challenges they face. How can we keep up on one more thing, the threat of environmental dangers right in our homes? As Actress Jessica Beals said, “I just grew tired of feeling like I needed to have a PhD in toxicology in order to be a competent parent.”

Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families

Other parents can help us. Many have joined Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, which helps parents learn more about toxic chemicals in household products, toys, baby products, and furniture, and urges businesses, state legislatures, and the federal government to limit their use. Currently Safer Chemicals is urging Congress to act wisely as it revises the Toxic Substances Contract Act. The reform bill will be voted on this week; it looks like an improvement on the 2013 law.

Why am I writing on this topic in a website on helping kids with learning challenges? There is a li Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families has posted a report on the link between chemicals and learning disabilities.

Many organizations and businesses have joined forces to form Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. Those organizations include two I belong to, the Learning Disabilities Association of America and Children and Adults with AD/HD, as well as the Autism Society, and the ARC of the U.S. These 450 organizations cover a wide range politically, including labor unions and environmental groups. Fox News featured them here:

YouTube video

What can we do?

Meanwhile, what can we do to keep our homes safer? I’m no chemist or expert, but here are some baby steps I’ve taken.

  1. I replace nonstick pans when they begin to peel or chip, and I never use them on high heat. (Maybe I should give them up completely. Opinion is divided on this.)
  2. This month I just bought a Brita water pitcher and filter after learning from a hydrologist that  pharmaceuticals, used by upstream farmers for livestock, wash into our local water supply. I like the Wave model, which uses their advanced filters. They filter much faster than their previous kind.
  3. I don’t microwave with plastic wrap or in plastic containers since my son took a food safety course in college. He persuaded me that the danger wasn’t an urban myth.
  4. I’m experimenting with different all-purpose cleaners around my house, trying to find an effective, healthy product. I was shocked to learn what I’ve sprayed counters, changing tables, and kitchen tables with for years is unhealthy.
  5. Today, I signed up to get updates from Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families.
  6. We use BPA-free water bottles instead of buying bottled water.

What do you do to keep your family safer from toxic chemicals? We St have to fix everything at once, but one step can help. Let me know if you try one of these, or make a suggestion in the comment section below.


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