Time is a precious commodity for moms. Whenever I try to schedule a get together with one of my mom friends, it can be a month long process to get a happy hour or dinner on the calendar. Moms are busy picking up children from daycare, taking them to a softball game or helping them do homework. Time to do anything outside these daily commitments is rare and why it is important to acknowledge the significant role Minnesota parents played in passing two laws that will protect children from toxic chemicals.
First state to ban formaldehyde in body products
Parents first learned about formaldehyde in children’s bubble bath when the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released their No More Toxic Tub report in 2009. This shocking report found cancer-causing formaldehyde in many popular children’s shampoos, bubble bath and other body products. Four years later, Minnesota is now the first state in the nation to ban formaldehyde-releasing chemicals from children’s body products. Minnesota parents will soon no longer have to be concerned about chemicals such as Quanternium-15 or DMD hydantoin releasing toxic formaldehyde into their child’s bath.
BPA-free food packaging now law
Parents will also be able to worry less about bisphenol-A (BPA) in their children’s formula or food. Minnesota joined Connecticut and Vermont in banning hormone-disrupting BPA from food packaging for young children. Next year, BPA will no longer be allowed in baby food, infant formula and toddler food containers for children under age three.
A Mom’s Number One Job
Moms constantly worry about their child’s safety. A friend of mine use to joke that the primary job of parents is to keep her child alive. As family protector, moms get particularly upset when companies refuse to take common sense steps to replace toxic chemicals in their products with available and safe alternatives. Unfortunately, it takes more than being right to pass a law, especially when up against Big Chemical.
Minnesota bills to remove toxic chemicals from children’s products faced steady opposition from industry. Lobbyists had a strong presence at the state capitol, meeting with lawmakers, testifying against the bills at every committee hearing. Fortunately Minnesota moms stood up against this opposition and let their lawmakers know it was time to protect children from toxic formaldehyde and BPA. Despite the claims of the safety of BPA and formaldehyde by corporate lobbyists, the Minnesota House and Senate passed both bills with bi-partisan support and Governor Dayton recently signed the bills into law.
Many Minnesotans made important contributions to this effort by writing letters, making calls and sending emails to their lawmakers. Moms played a particularly important role in this victory. They traveled to the state capitol and testified before legislative committees, some of them multiple times with their child in tow, in support of these bills. Moms invited the media into their homes to talk about their concerns and why these bills mattered and met with their state senators and representatives at the capitol.
Thanks to these mom leaders and the actions of Minnesotans across the state, all Minnesota children will be better protected.
“My husband Tom and I became parents when our daughter Ada was born last April. As Ada’s mom, my number one job is to protect her and keep her safe from harm, and that’s why I am here today, to speak to you.”
– Committee testimony of Meredith Salmi-Bydalek, Mom of Ada, age 1
“Shopping for products can be confusing. I wish I had the time to look up all the random words on the back of the ingredients list to see what they all really meant, but most of the time I’m lucky to get out of the store alive! I just flat out don’t have the time to look them all up. As a busy mom, I can only do so much.”
– Committee testimony of Sarah Kallal, Mom of twins Charley and Azalea, ages 2 and Julia, age 1
What you can do for safer products
While this is great news for Minnesota parents, families in other states also deserve the same protection. Call your Senators and ask them to support the Safe Chemicals Act and the Safe Cosmetics & Personal Care Products Act, which will protect everyone from harmful chemicals in our consumer products. The time it takes to make these calls is worth it!