A Toxic-Free Future For All Children
by Tera Clausen
Have you ever heard the saying, “Behind every great kid is a parent who is sure they are doing something wrong”?
I remember when my twins were born and I became a mom. As many new parents do, I always erred on the side of caution. I wanted them to be safe, healthy and happy. Living in a world that feels so big and scary at times, it can be a daunting task to protect our children. Even if you are not a parent yourself, most people have children in their lives that they care for and want to keep safe. Child safety is a common goal we can all agree on.
It can be overwhelming to think that every little thing could be a danger to your child – whether it’s the safety rating of a car seat or the toxicity levels in everyday household items. Sometimes it is hard to know which dangers merit caution and which ones are due to overactive paranoia.
This is why I was so excited for Salt Lake City to partner with Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF), earlier this year.
HBBF is a non-profit organization whose mission is to work towards a toxic-free future for all children.
Salt Lake City is currently in the first phase of this partnership called the Beacon City phase. Right now, the City is assessing current risks and prioritizing opportunities to reduce toxins in the lives of Salt Lake City children. This means that with the the wide-scale reduction of harmful toxins in the local environment, Salt Lake residents will have one less thing to worry about when it comes to the safety of their children.
A tool that many parents may find helpful in the quest for ensuring a safe environment for their children is the Safe Product Finder on the HBBF website. The Safe Product Finder allows you to browse a variety of everyday items that are potentially hazardous such as:
- Food and water
- Furniture and appliances
- Home cleaning and repairs
- Personal care and health
- Yard and parks
- Baby gear
Why does this matter? Babies in utero, infants and small children are at a higher risk. Toxins may not be extremely hazardous to an adult, but small children are still developing their organs and immune systems, and can’t process certain exposures very well. Toxic exposures can have long term effects. Developmental and behavior problems have been linked to these toxic exposures, as well as other chronic illnesses such as asthma.
However, even with municipalities like Salt Lake City taking proactive measures, consumers need to be informed and make wise product and behavioral choices. There is plenty that each of us can do to protect our children from the silent epidemic of toxic exposure. A few ways you can reduce toxins within your own home environment include:
- Eliminating the use of pesticides in your yard and garden
- Changing water filters that are past due for maintenance
- Avoiding buying furniture with added flame retardant
- Ventilating your kitchen while cooking
- Dusting/sweeping/vacuuming regularly to prevent children from ingesting paint chips possibly contaminated with lead (if you live in an older home)
Other local programs that can help you along your toxic free journey is buying local organic produce at the Urban Greens Market, or properly disposing of hazardous materials and hard to recycle items. You may even consider encouraging your child’s daycare or school to create idle- free zones.
It can feel overwhelming to protect our children, but know that you are not alone, and SLCgreen is here to help you along the way.