02 March 2007

Letter to the Editor: PROTECT OUR WOMEN FROM TOXICS

2 March, 2007


The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental network on waste and pollution issues, lauds the Filipino women, especially our mothers, for their paramount role in mentoring us on ecological practices such as repairing, reusing and recycling our discards.

In the process of turning households into homes, our mothers have instilled in us life-sustaining values such as caring for oursurroundings, doing more with fewer resources, cutting waste, and even creating wealth from trash.

Above all, we thank our mothers for nourishing us with breastmilk - the best and healthiest food for human babies that requires no packaging and causes no pollution.

As we celebrate the International Women’s Day, we would like to call attention to the need to protect our women from toxic chemicals that endanger their health and their capacity to bear, nurture and sustain life.

With thousands of chemicals being manufactured and traded globally, it has become "normal" to find toxics in cosmetic products, household cleaning materials, consumer goods, toys and, yes, in the air we breathe and in the food and water we consume.

Many of these chemicals are lipophilic, which means they lodge in the body's fat cells. As nature has endowed women's bodies with extra stores of fat for their childbearing and breastfeeding functions, women tend to be more vulnerable to contamination by these chemicals. So invasive are these chemicals that babies are born tainted with assorted toxics.

In 2005, the Environmental Working Group and Commonweal released a report showing an average of 200 industrial chemicals and contaminants such as pesticides, consumer product ingredients, wastes from burning trash, gasoline and coal - in the umbilical cord blood of 10 babies born in US hospitals in 2004.

To honor our women and protect our children from harm, let us prevent and reduce toxic contamination of our environment from smoke-belching vehicles, dirty factories and products, horrendous dumps and incinerators and other pollution sources. Let us work together to eliminate human exposure to toxic hazards.

Sincerely,


Elsie Brandes-De Veyra
Treasurer, EcoWaste Coalition
Commissioner, National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women


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