Educating yourself is the first step. Taking action is the next.
Let’s face it – there’s a lot of overwhelming information out there about toxic chemical exposure. Much of what we read further adds to our stress of feeling both scared of the impacts and helpless to turn things around. Being paralyzed by fear or powerlessness doesn’t make us feel better or move us closer to a solution. So here are 5 things you can do now if you are feeling weighed down by the world.
1. Contact your representatives to support healthy legislation
How many times have you heard this suggestion this year? We can’t stress just how important and effective this step can be! It is your representative’s job to listen to the people, and contacting them directly is a quick, and easy way to spark or aid in political change. (Click here to find and connect with your elected officials.)
2. Take advantage of agencies when they ask for public opinion
From time to time, government agencies will reach out and ask the public for their input on tough decisions. These comment periods can make a world of difference. Since you are able to free-write your opinion, you are able to take a stance, or offer a different viewpoint to their questions. For example, last month the EPA asked the public which regulations they should repeal, replace, or modify. While they received over 55,000 responses, the overwhelming response was that Americans don’t want to repeal any since they have seen so much improvement over recent decades.
3. Tell companies you want transparency and safety testing
Links between specific chemicals and adverse health reactions are coming into focus, and companies are not always at the forefront of consumer safety. As these facts arise, help companies change their policies by demanding safety testing and a complete, safe list of ingredients used in their products. Remember – some companies are responding to their customer’s demands by labeling allergens, fragrance ingredients, all ingredients, or removing ingredients that consumers do not want to come in contact with anymore. You can participate by contacting a company directly, contacting the FDA with any personal adverse reactions to a specific product, or take action when you receive alerts from Women’s Voices for the Earth or other organizations that you support.
4. Connect with organizations on the forefront of toxicology & health
Devoting a chunk of time every week in the name of social action is a massive commitment. Some weeks have more room to act than others. The good news is that there are a number of organizations across the U.S. (WVE, included) that are conducting research, advocating for political change, and helping those impacted by unregulated chemicals. Stay connected with these organizations by signing up for newsletters, participating in action links, following on social media, volunteering, sharing information you learn with your community (might I suggest hosting a Green Cleaning or Green Momma Party?), or making donations.
5. Lower exposure at home
Always, always, always know that you can always take steps in your home to reduce toxic exposure to you and your loved ones. From DIY cleaning products, to avoiding plastic products, these small lifestyle changes can make a huge difference. Plus, voting with your dollar when you shop for supplies and products can go a long way to support industries that are doing the right thing, and divest from companies opting for toxic chemicals over consumer health.