Thursday is a big -- and long overdue -- day. And American moms, like me, will be tuned in and watching.
Usually, hearings in Congress get little attention from the general public, let alone busy moms. But this Thursday is a big day for those of us who care about protecting American families from toxic chemicals.
The U.S. Senate will be holding a hearing on "The Safe Chemicals Act," a bill sponsored by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). The bill, a much-needed overhaul of our antiquated laws, will help us all protect our families from toxic chemicals.
I just gave birth to my second child, and I can tell you that there is no stronger instinct for a mom then wanting to protect her kids and keep them safe. My children have changed my life in wonderful ways. They've brought me tremendous joy. They've also made me conscious of every product I buy, from toys to mattresses to cleaning products. I hope that the decisions I make will shield my children from harm. Yet today, it's impossible to be sure. As parents, we just don't have the information we need to keep our kids safe from toxic chemicals in many household products.
Many moms and dads believe that our government is making sure there aren't toxic chemicals in our products. And for a long time, I thought the same thing.
However, nothing could be further from the truth. It is still legal to use lead, mercury, asbestos and formaldehyde in many common household products. Even worse, there are thousands of other chemicals in use that have never been tested for safety at all!
We require all kinds of companies to make sure that their products are safe before they're sold, from food to pharmaceuticals to pickup trucks. And yet there is no requirement that the chemicals used in consumer products be tested for safety, even if they're used in products made for children.
Would you give your child medicine that hadn't been tested to make sure it was safe?
Parents are often shocked to find out that there are dangerous chemicals in their child's plastic baby bottles, toys, baby soap, shower curtains, and even in their crib mattresses. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
That's why parents are demanding action from Congress now. That's why we need the Safe Chemicals Act.
I am hopeful that members of both parties will see this as an issue of basic common sense -- for the health of their kids and grandkids and those of their constituents. I believe they will do the right thing. And I am encouraged by bipartisan efforts to make progress on this issue. Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the lead Republican on the committee hearing this bill, has joined with Senator Lautenberg to seek common ground on this issue.
I hope the companies that make chemicals and household products will step up, too, and become partners in passing this important legislation. The Safe Chemicals Act will enhance their brands and their businesses, and, most importantly, serve their customers well -- especially their tiniest ones.
Moms (and dads!) across the country are busy people. They are trying to raise their kids and support their families. But on Thursday, lots of us moms will be watching online on behalf of parents across the country.
Every kid has the right to be safe in her home. Every mom has the right to know that the products she buys for her child are free of toxic chemicals.
We have hope and faith in our political system to fix this problem, and we are counting on our U.S. Senators to get it done. For the sake of our kids, do not let us down.
For more information and to join the campaign go to the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families website www.saferchemicals.org or Facebook page. Click here to call your U.S. Senator today and ask them to support The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011.
Follow Jessica Alba on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jessicaalba