Thursday, February 18, 2010

The MollyAnna Approach

Remember Pollyanna? The ever-optimistic dreamer who always knew that things were going to work out? When it comes to chemical and consumer safety, I’ve reached a mindset that I am calling ‘MollyAnna’. I am discouraged, frustrated and even a bit cynical these days, but I have to believe that there is something I can do to make a difference when it comes to the health and well-being not only of my own family, but of all of the consumers in the US who should be able to buy products without wondering about their lethal side-effects.

I’m not talking about medications or heavy machinery. I worry about lotions, food, toys, clothing, packaging… You name it – there are untested chemicals in just about everything we touch. Some chemicals – such as BPA, PVC and phthalates – have been tested and are clearly dangerous toxins but they are still sold as innocuous and seemingly safe items by companies we have grown to trust. How can we even know where to start? And since most of the chemicals in our environment have not even been tested, what really IS safe?

I’m not a scientist, chemist or a doctor. I’m not a politico, an extremist or a lobbyist. I’m a mom. I have big worries and a small budget. I have great ideas and next-to-no free time. I have a million questions and only a few answers – and even those answers are suspect at times. I feel like I am going around in smaller and smaller circles. I’ll research an issue, reach a decision and then hear a new piece of research that makes me question everything at which point I start all over again. And with two 2-year-olds (yep, Molly and Anna) I really don’t have the time to waste.

By no means do I have the answers here, but I thought it might be of value to document my efforts to navigate this minefield. In the process I’ll be asking for tons of help from people who ARE experts – and I’ll share that info here. I’ll also share info about some of the great strides certain organizations are making in this effort – and the fantastic websites that help by evaluating and selling safe products. There are probably a few million different ways to juggle all of this, but this is my approach. The MollyAnna approach.

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