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Learning Disabilities Advocate Stands Up for Safer Chemicals

It’s been almost fourth months since I traveled to Washington D.C. and I have to admit it is still surreal that I stood in the U.S. Capitol, surrounded by cameras, TV reporters, actress Jessica Alba, Senators and moms from across the country.

As an Arkansas educator, it’s not every day you get to spend time with A-list movie stars, have your picture in People magazine and meet with Arkansas Senator John Boozman. This became reality when I partnered with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families and actress Jessica Alba in the fight to protect American families from toxic chemicals.


As the mother of two, an educator, and an advocate for those with learning and developmental disabilities, I care deeply about the health and well being of our children. That is the very quest that brought me to Washington, to advocate for the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011.

Unbeknownst to many American families, toxic chemicals are found in every day consumer products, our homes and schools and ending up in our bodies. Many of these chemicals can harm the developing brains of our children. Our country’s leading scientists, pediatricians, and nurses are united in their concern about the rise in childhood cancer, early puberty, learning disabilities, and infertility. Even worse, there is no federal system for ensuring chemicals used in our consumer products are safe and tested.

As the mother of two, an educator, and an advocate for those with learning and developmental disabilities, I care deeply about the health and well being of our children.

Being involved in special education with the Arkansas Baptist School System for over 20 years and involved in education for over 30, I have observed the number of children with learning and behavior problems skyrocket. I have also seen school special education budgets expand, costing our already impoverished school systems thousands of dollars each year.

We love and cherish each and every student in the classroom, whether they struggle with a learning disability or not. But if we know that pregnant women, developing babies, and young children are routinely exposed to chemicals that can harm their developing brain,shouldn’t we do something about it? Isn’t it up to us to prevent harm to our children?

While I find it surreal that my picture ended up in People magazine, I also find my energy and commitment to protect public health from toxic chemicals stronger than ever. Whether you’re a new or expecting mother, know someone who has suffered from cancer, a learning disability or more, please join me and Jessica Alba in this common sense quest for safe chemicals.


I have been working with the Learning Disabilities Association of America and in my state of Arkansas to show Senators Boozman and Pryor that we care about putting common sense limits on toxic chemicals. Regardless of what state you live in, I encourage you to join me and Jessica Alba in urging ALL of our Senators to co-sponsor the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011.

Tell Congress now There is no better time for Congress to take bi-partisan action to protect American families.

Tricia Smith
Executive Director, Learning Disabilities Association – Arkansas
SOAR Director, Arkansas Baptist School System

Read more on the connection between Toxic Chemicals and Learning Disabilities.