FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact Person: Lalla Carothers
Name of Institution: Congregational Church in Cumberland
Phone Number: 207-829-3419
Email Address: email@example.com
Website URL: http://cumberlandgreenteam.portal501.com/
Safe Chemicals for All
As participants in the GreenFaith Certification Program, the Green Team of the Congregational Church in Cumberland Maine UCC has been collecting petition signatures from members of the United Church of Christ in order to move the Safe Chemicals Act out of Committee and onto the US Senate floor for a vote.
Toxic chemicals currently create serious health threats to human health and eco-systems. The communities at greatest risk are the poor communities closest to many of our nation’s chemical plants, the workers in these plants, and children, the elderly and pregnant women. Because of these significant environmental justice concerns, GreenFaith is advocating for reform of the Federal law that governs toxic chemicals. The Safe Chemicals Act is currently in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. GreenFaith is advocating for the Committee to vote this bill onto the Senate floor.
To support this effort, Cumberland UCC Green Team Coordinator Lalla Carothers joined two-dozen Maine moms and activists on a bus to Washington DC to participate in a national ‘Stroller Brigade’ in support of safer chemicals. Both groups call on Congress to modernize the federal Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA) – a law that is outdated and ineffective at protecting people and the environment from dangerous chemicals.
Ms. Carothers shared her thoughts from the bus ride: “As we drive south from Maine through several states, smokestacks on either side of the road belch acrid-smelling fumes. Who works and lives here, breathing these toxic chemicals? The poor are particularly vulnerable to toxic pollution, but everyone is exposed to chemicals in everything from flame retardants in our furniture to hormone disruptors in our food containers.”
The moms traveled all day Monday to join the “Safe Chemicals Brigade” on Tuesday, May 22nd on the US Capitol lawn. Hundreds of other activists from 31 states gathered at a press conference to demand action from Congress. Later that day, the Maine bus riders met with Senators Snowe and Collins, as well as staff members for Reps Michaud and Pingree.
Advocates emerged from meetings hopeful their actions will lead to support for the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011. Introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), this bill will be under consideration by the Environment and Public Works Committee later this month. This marks the first time a bill to fix what supporters call a ‘badly broken’ chemical safety system is being considered by a full Senate Committee.
The Safe Chemicals Act will require chemical companies to demonstrate the safety of their products using the best available science, create market incentives for safer alternatives, and give parents the best information possible about chemicals in children’s products.
Ms. Carothers concludes: “As a person of faith, I feel a responsibility to protect my children, community, and ecosystem, but we all share a moral obligation to vulnerable populations including the poor, elderly, children, and pregnant women. Joining other like-minded activists to call on our nation’s leaders is empowering. I feel privileged to represent others in pursuit of a safe chemical policy and reinvigorated to continue our efforts. We can’t shop our way out of this problem. We call on our leaders to address this moral issue by bringing The Safe Chemicals Act to a vote. ”
The two year GreenFaith Certification Program helps turn houses of worship into environmental leaders. GreenFaith participants incorporate their commitment to environmental stewardship into all aspects of their faith communities, including worship services, education, energy conservation, and outreach to the larger community. For more about GreenFaith, see www.greenfaith.org. or contact GreenFaith Certification Program Director Stacey Kennealy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 732-565-7740, ext. 303.