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All’s NOT Fair In Love And War

No one said the road to protecting children from toxic chemicals would be easy. It’s a fight worth fighting for, but it’s a fight nonetheless.  We came face to face with what our opposition was capable of, in the form of a “front group” known as Citizens For Fire Safety (CFFS). This group will stop at nothing to defeat the Toxic-Free Kids Act as their latest tactic shows.

CFFS has been trying to convince the social justice community to oppose the Toxic-Free Kids Act, saying it is a “dangerous bill that would harm children, seniors, and ‘minorities’.” They are using baseless scare tactics and calling supporters of the bill “wealthy environmental groups” who do not represent “those most at risk for fire danger: minorities, the elderly, the infirm and … children.”

Of course, what they aren’t saying, is they are actually a front group run by the makers of toxic flame retardants who have a clear profit motive for wanting their toxic flame retardants to remain in products for kids. (We’ve blogged about who they are before.)

There assertions about the effect of the bill on fire safety couldn’t be further from the truth and our allies in the racial equity and social justice community agree. Upon hearing of CFFS’s tactics, the community sprang into action and wrote a letter to state legislators supporting the Toxic-Free Kids Act.

They wrote:

“Citizens For Fire Safety, based in California, is a front group for the makers of toxic flame retardants. They are targeting low-income and ‘minority’ communities of color by using reckless scare tactics as a way to distract from the real issue of protecting children. Fire safe products can be achieved without the use of harmful chemicals that cause cancer. All communities have a right to be healthy. We can’t achieve this if we continue to allow harmful chemicals into our homes and environment.

We are dismayed that this chemical industry front group purports to care about the health and well-being of low income communities and communities of color without disclosing their clear profit motives. We are not fooled by their tactics and we ask you to reject them too.”

It’s pretty low of the opposition to co-opt the language of social justice groups in the name of their profits, but it’s even lower to use scare tactics to try to divide up our community! Who says we can’t protect our children from fires AND cancer-causing chemicals? We as a community can do both!

When the Toxic Free Kids Act passes, it will help safer children’s products be more readily accessible to all families, especially low-income families and families of color.  To the community groups who stood with us – thank you.

We can’t win this fight alone, but together we stand a chance.

Check out our profile on Citizens for Fire Safety.

Groups who signed on include: Asian Counseling Referral Services, API Communities Against Tobacco, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance, One America, Pin@y sa Seattle, Children’s Alliance, Puget Sound Sage, Parents Organizing for Welfare and Economic Rights, El Centro de la Raza, Washington State Association of Nurses, Washington CAN, and Got Green.