Making Our Milk Safe (MOMS) Comes to CEH!

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What’s going on behind the scenes at the Center for Environmental Health right now?  Today, we’re excited to announce that we’re teaming up with another great non-profit just as concerned with protecting the public from toxic chemicals as we are—Making Our Milk Safe (MOMS).

Here’s a little background on what MOMS is all about:

Five years ago, a group of 75 moms and babies gathered in a San Francisco living room for the launch party of Making Our Milk Safe (MOMS). Although they may have been lured there by the chocolate chip cookies and organic milkshakes made to order, those in attendance stuck around to hear about a plan to build a grassroots network of moms working to eliminate the presence of toxic chemicals in mothers’ milk. One of those supportive folks was the Executive Director of the Center for Environmental Health, Michael Green.

Since then, MOMS and CEH have teamed up on a number of issues, most memorably a protest against Target Corporation in 2006 that resulted in numerous print, radio, and television stories (with moms nursing babies, strollers running laps around the store, a 50ft. rubber duck balloon hovering over the freeway—how could it not?). Soon after, the company announced it was phasing out the use of toxic polyvinyl chloride (PVC, which is often a source of lead contamination) in its products and packaging. In 2008, MOMS and CEH hosted a toy-testing party that was featured on a PBS Now special on phthalates in toys.

Some might be wondering, Okay, what does breast milk have to do with lead or phthalates in toys? Well, good question.

The answer? Everything.

The way to eliminate the presence of toxins in breast milk is to make sure they don’t end up in women’s bodies in the first place. Even the earliest exposures to chemicals like pesticides or flame retardants can linger in our bodies until we reproduce, and then can be passed on to our children in our wombs or while breastfeeding. It’s scary stuff, to be sure. But, come on, what more powerful image is there than a mother trying to protect her child from harm?  It’s a primal drive. Tapping into that ferocity and putting it to work to keep toxic chemicals out of our environment and our bodies will surely have the chemical industry running scared. And with CEH’s track record of holding whole industries accountable, it’s fair to assume they already are.

Since that first gathering in San Francisco five years ago, the MOMS network has quietly grown to include thousands of concerned parents across the US and in Canada. As those breastfeeding mothers wean their children, or as their kids grow up and enter school, new environmental concerns inevitably emerge: the safety of the playgrounds they visit, the food they eat, the quality of the indoor air they breathe, the toys they play with.

To help their members stay informed and engaged on these issues, MOMS has recently become a project of the Center for Environmental Health. As a CEH project, MOMS will be able to put the energy of its network behind some of the most effective environmental health campaigns running today.

We are excited about the next phase of our collaboration with MOMS, so please stay tuned for more on this exciting new project right here on Generation Green, and at www.ceh.org.

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