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Opinion: Voters should make State House candidates accountable to children’s health initiatives

Healthy Michigan, Healthy Kids coalition seeks commitments
Lead, mercury, arsenic and other toxic chemicals do not belong in toys or children’s products. Unfortunately, as the recall of nearly five million toys and children’s products containing lead in the U.S. in 2008 demonstrates, our federal system has failed to protect Michigan’s children from toxic toys. Other states and countries have passed legislation to protect kids from toxics.

The Healthy Michigan, Healthy Kids coalition calls on our next Michigan Legislature to follow suit and aims to educate candidates and voters prior to the Nov. 4 general election.

The issue of toxic toys has great resonance with voters and will garner more attention as we head into the holiday season and undoubtedly face more toy recalls. Healthy Michigan, Healthy Kids gives candidates for the Michigan House of Representatives an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to protecting children’s health and the environment.

Early this summer, Healthy Michigan, Healthy Kids sent its platform to all of the candidates for the Michigan House of Representatives. The platform aims to protect Michigan’s children from toxic chemicals by phasing out the most dangerous chemicals, identifying other chemicals of concern in kids’ products and providing incentives for “Green Chemistry” and safer product development. Candidates have responded enthusiastically by endorsing the Healthy Michigan, Healthy Kids platform. Almost half of all the House incumbents had already signed on by the end of July.

 Michigan’s economy stands to benefit from investment in Green Chemistry and the development and manufacture of safer products. Companies that make safer chemicals and products have an advantage in the marketplace and can help regrow Michigan’s economy. The state already has demonstrated leadership in this area with Governor Granholm’s signing of the first ever Green Chemistry Executive Directive in 2006.

Michigan residents can help the Healthy Michigan, Healthy Kids coalition to protect kids from toxic toys, too. Michiganders can tell their district’s candidates that they support the goals of Healthy Michigan, Healthy Kids by visiting www.healthymichigan.net and sending a postcard to all the candidates in their district.

For more information about the Healthy Michigan, Healthy Kids coalition or the platform contact: Rebecca Meuninck at (734) 761-3186, ext. 125, or email rebecca@ecocenter.org.
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