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Call to Action: Nurses Asked to Become Involved in Chemical Reform

May 23, 2011
Health Care Without Harm Action Alert
Contact: Eileen Secrest  540-479-0168
Karen Bowman, MN, RN, COHN-S  206-617-0844

Call to Action: Nurses Asked to Become Involved in Chemical Reform

Washington, DC — Ask Your State Senators to Co-Sponsor The Safe Chemicals Act (S. 847) today! Call the Capitol switch board at (202) 224-3121

Not sure how the Capitol switch board works?
Follow these simple steps:
1. Call the Capitol switch board at (202) 224-3121.
2. Ask to be transferred to your Senator’s office.
3. Ask to speak to a staff person who works on environmental issues.
4. Leave your message. This is what I said when I called, “Hi my name is Karen Bowman, I’m a registered nurse and I live in Seattle, WA. Can you pass on this short message to Sen. Cantwell? (one of my Senators) I want to urge Sen. Cantwell to co-sponsor The Safe Chemicals Act (S. 847) This bill would fix our out-dated chemical safely laws and I care about it because…”
5. Repeat steps 1-4 but this time ask for your other Senator’s office instead (mine’s Murray).

The Safe Chemicals Act will fill the gap in the nation’s chemical safety laws that currently allow harmful chemicals into our homes via the products we use every day. Passage of the act would mean that when consumers go to the store, they would have the confidence that the shampoo, rug, or baby bottles they were buying would be safe to use. And best of all, they would not be exposing their families to chemicals linked to cancer, learning disabilities, and infertility.
Why Nurses Should Get Involved in Chemical Policy Reform
The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 (S.847)

Nursing practice is firmly grounded in environmental health principles. Florence Nightingale believed that nursing practice "is an act of utilizing the environment of the patient to assist him in his recovery; that it involves the nurse's initiative to configure environmental settings appropriate for the gradual restoration of the patient's health; and that external factors associated with the patient's surroundings affect life or biologic and physiologic processes, and his development.” How can nurses put patients in the best environment to promote healing when our environment is becoming more contaminated every day?

Current environmental protection standards in the US are meant to be health-based and protective. They aren’t. There are major health concerns associated with the environmental exposure to over 80,000 chemicals in the environment. The system that regulates toxic chemicals, the Toxic Substance Control Act, is broken and in need of urgent repair. Most chemicals in use today are not tested for toxicity, and are not required by federal law to pass basic health and safety testing. The federal government lacks the regulatory structure to prevent harmful chemicals from turning up in products, air, water, and people. These chemicals are linked to serious health problems such as infertility, cancers, learning disabilities, neurobehavioral disorders and other diseases such as asthma. Under the current regulatory system, chemicals are assumed safe unless proven otherwise, which make absolutely no sense.

“You cannot have healthy people on a sick planet,” says Gary Cohen, President, Health Care Without Harm. Nurses know this and they know the importance of acting now to protect our nation’s health. Supporting the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 makes sense! Please follow the steps above to let your Senators know that you strongly support the Safe Chemicals Act!

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