When moms think about toxic chemicals and our families, we often think about the chemicals we bring into our homes, such as cleaning products and food containers, and the day-to-day low-level exposures that may result.
But our families are also at risk of catastrophic, high-level chemical exposures.
Large quantities of toxic chemicals are stored at thousands of factories, water treatment plants, oil refineries, and other industrial sites in our country. In the almost unthinkable scenario of an explosion, a cloud of toxic gas could threaten literally thousands of people at a time. And children are especially at risk.
Nearly 10,000 schools lie within one mile of a dangerous facility. These facilities place one in ten children–4.6 million children in all 50 states–at risk of grave harm in the event of a chemical release due to accident, sabotage, or natural disaster.
The West, Texas, fertilizer plant that exploded in 2013, killing 15 people and destroying three schools, is one example of the risks to communities and children. But despite the risks, very little has been done to prevent a chemical disaster.
Let’s change that.
Many safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals exist, but because facilities aren’t required to use safer chemicals or technologies when available, they continue with business as usual. Which involves placing millions of children at risk where they learn and play.
It’s time EPA requires hazardous chemical facilities to use safer chemicals and technologies. Because all kids deserve a safe place to learn, play, and grow.