A few weeks ago I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a Lobby Day in Washington, DC with Maine moms and other activists to raise awareness and pressure Congress to regulate harmful chemicals in support of The Safe Chemicals Act. As a mom, this was a chance for me to advocate on behalf of the safety of my three children, and all children, who should be kept safe from harmful toxic chemicals in our products.
Our trip to DC was an incredible experience. 24 amazing moms, grandmas, healthcare professionals and activists packed into a bus and left our families, professional responsibilities and other commitments hoping to make a difference. For twelve hours we sang songs, shared information with one another and prepared powerful statements for our meetings with our members of Congress.
The next day we joined other moms, dads, children, grandparents, health care professionals and activists from all over the country for a press conference and “National Stroller Brigade” all in support for toxic chemical reform. Maine had the largest, and loudest group represented at the rally!
It was an emotional and powerful experience listening to Senators Lautenburg, Senator Durbin, former Speaker of the House Hannah Pingree and a mom who shared her devastating story from effects of toxic chemicals. After parading down the streets in DC, we had very positive meetings with the staff of Pingree and Michaud. We also met with Senator Collins also listened to our stories and expressed that TSCA was outdate and needed to be amended.
Our meeting with Senator Snowe was incredible – the highlight of the trip. In what was supposed to be a 20 minute meeting that turned into 45 minutes, she engaged fully with each of us, listened to our stories and showed concern and agreement. Senator Snowe strongly agreed that TSCA was in need up reform and expressed its importance. She urged us to encourage the Environment and Public Works Committee to get the bill to the Senate floor so that she could work with other Senators to find an agreement. We left the meeting feeling renewed energy and hope.
It was such a privilege to take part in the amazing process of government with a dedicated group of activists. However, there is much more crucial work to be done. It is unacceptable to have toxic chemicals lingering in our household products – furniture, clothing, food, car seats, receipts and more. We all need to urge our both Senator Collins and Senator Snowe to lead the way towards national chemical safety reform. Let’s be proactive in order to secure the safety of all our children, the environment, and ourselves.