Yesterday I stood with MomsRising.org, MOMS (Make Our Milk Safe) and Friends of the Earth members babies and small children holding signs to rally for AB 706 in front of Don Perata's Oakland office. We sang about brominated and chlorinated chemicals to the tune of Frère Jacques in front of TV cameras and to our delight and disbelief, a representative of Sen. Perata announced that he would release AB 706 from the Senate Appropriations Committee to the Senate Floor. The bill is now eligible for a vote on the Senate floor and also has to pass the Assembly tomorrow, the last day for bills to pass this year.
Moms always have more to worry about and this is no exception. The time pressure of getting AB 706 through the legislature in a day is extreme. Meanwhile a reputed $10 million media blitz from the chemical industry which has resulted in waves of calls from citizens whose fears have been fanned by full-page ad showing a subdivision in flames with an alarming headline: 'Don't let Sacramento weaken fire safety." The ad goes on to say that pending legislative (AB706) represents "misguided efforts to ban proven flame retardants."
What the ad does not say is that it was paid for by the three chemical companies that profit hugely from the toxic flame retardants that AB706 seeks to ban. Californians for Fire Safety, the ad sponsors, are not Californians at all. They are Albemarle Corp., Chemtura Corp., and IC-Ltd Industrial Products from Louisiana, Connecticut, and Beer-Sheva, Israel and they make hundreds of millions of dollars selling toxic chemicals that end up in our homes, our bodies, our children and our pets.
The chemical industry's media blitz includes TV ads and mailers with heart-rendering images of tear streaked children being rescued by fire fighters. Yet they sidestep the very real risks that these chemicals pose -- those of cancer, endocrine disruption, neurological and reproductive disorders to children and adults -- by saturating furniture with these chemicals.
In contrast, AB706 is supported by over thirty firefighter, parent, consumer, labor and environmental groups all over the state-these groups know that AB706 is crucial to the health and safety of California's families. AB706 must pass both the CA Senate and Assembly on September 11 if it is to reach the governor.
AB 706 is a win-win: more fire safety, less toxic chemicals. It will be an enormous boon to the health of Californians and our environment.
Then we can worry about the Governor signing the bill.
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