It amazes me when my kids are more aware than I am about what’s going into their bodies. Recently, as I was about to take a bite of a beautiful, shiny, unwashed persimmon, my son exclaimed, “Wait, Mom! There might be pesticides on that! You need to wash it first!”
All that awareness coming from a 4 1/2 year old-the same one I’m supposed to be setting a good example for. It both saddens and encourages me that the kids of this generation are so aware of the dangerous pollutants in their environment, as well as the ways best to avoid them.
Still, it is always up to us, their mothers, to protect them. As vigilant as I am about things like avoiding buying fish high in mercury, making sure the products I use to clean our home are free of toxins, and always buying organic fruits and vegetables, I rarely think about one of the biggest daily dangers we face_ the air we breathe. And whereas when it comes to buying food or cleaning products you can use your wallet to protect your children, clean air is something that simply can’t be bought.
When I read that poor health caused by environmental factors such as air pollution and exposure to toxic chemicals cost the United States $76.6 billion in 2008, I was floored. Some of the factors focused on childhood cancer, lead poisoning, and chronic conditions such as asthma, autism and attention deficit disorders which are all conditions linked to environmental toxins and pollutants in our air, food, water, and soil.
Watch this video to hear author and mom, Ayelet Waldman’s story about why she joined Moms Clean Air Force. Her child was almost permanently brain damaged from exposure to mercury in tuna.
I feel like being a good mom isn’t just what you ensure happens in your home, but also what you can influence in your community and, hopefully, the world our kids live in. We moms have passion and power, an unbeatable combination. We can harness the strength of mother love to fight back against polluters, and we will be among some of the most esteemed and respected organizations in the world_ the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, the American Academy of Pediatricians, and the American Nurses Association.
I urge you to join Moms Clean Air Force and their Nap Time Coalition to support the new EPA Mercury and Air Toxicity Standards and our children’s RIGHT to clean air. There are so many ways to get involved and you can do it all from your home during nap time.
Whether writing to the President or Congress to support the EPA’s standards, which would prevent up to 17,000 premature deaths and 120,000 childhood asthma cases annually, sharing your child’s artwork or even tweeting to your friends to make them more aware, every little bit helps!
Let’s win this battle together.