Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Guy Like Me Shouldn't Be Exposed To Toxic Flame Retardants

By Brian Clayton

The news is full of the dangers of toxic flame retardants in foam baby products and couches, which is pretty shocking. While I don’t see myself investing in nursing pillows or changing pads any time soon, I have lot of experience with couches and mats. 
I've been a wrestler since high school. I can’t count the number of times I've been pinned on a foam mat—or the number of guys I pinned. Not to brag, but I hold the state record for the fastest pin on a high school varsity wrestling team. Before that, in junior high, I began with martial arts: dodging, falling, rolling, always on a foam mat. My mom does yoga on a foam mat every night at home. Our dogs sleep on our couch’s foam cushions. My friends and I hang out on couches when we play Little Big Planet, and our puppies have been known to eat large parts of the couch. 
Of course, babies shouldn't be exposed to poisonous chemicals, but neither should my mom or my dogs or guys like me. I don’t smoke, work out a lot (I’m part of a medieval combat group), and try to eat healthy. Why should sitting on my family’s furniture be more dangerous than wrestling? Why should consumer products be cancer risks when there are plenty of safer ways to prevent fires? I am worried that if my mom’s yoga mat has toxic flame retardants in it, she may have been exposed to this stuff.   
I was raised in the Catholic Church. Truthfully, while I don’t agree with everything the Church teaches, I do believe we have a responsibility to care for the environment and protect people from danger that they can’t control. 
Parents can’t control what chemical companies put in kids’ things, or what their couches are made of. It’s hard for me to believe that keeping toxic chemicals out of family furniture and baby’s cribs is controversial. And why doesn't the law make it so that companies have to be sure products are safe before they are used in the stuff we have in our homes? 
From my perspective, the reason we have a legislature is to protect families, kids, and guys wrestling on mats. The Senate ought to pass the Toxic-Free Kids and Families Act this year.
Join Brian and ask your Senator to support a strong Toxic-Free Kids and Families Act!

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