Consumers shouldn’t have to figure out what’s toxic; pass House Bill 96

I recently attended the 2013 Alaska Youth for Environmental Action’s (AYEA) Civics and Conservation Summit where I learned about talking to legislators, how a bill passes and many more skills. I am extremely concerned about House Bill 96, which calls for labeling children’s products that contain toxic chemicals.

One may think “who could ever oppose the ban or labeling of toxic chemicals?” Unfortunately, some legislators feel the government should not interfere with consumers’ purchases. How about protection? Alaska deserves the security in knowing that future generations will be protected. How about fairness? What’s fair about toxic toys, or not even knowing which toys are toxic? This bill helps ensure that our children have the freedom to grow up healthy. 

So where are the labels? Bring on the labels. I love and value my community; I want everyone to live toxin free. I want to feel safe drinking out of my water bottle or storing my lunch in a container. I want clean food, I want clean fish, and I want to breathe deep and know that the air is clean. 

It shouldn’t be on the consumer to figure out what’s toxic and what’s not. The responsibility should be with the companies that manufacture our products to not use toxic chemicals in the first place, but, unfortunately, that’s not the way is. 

Alaska’s youth are under assault on all fronts from toxic chemicals. We the people need to step up, make some noise, and advocate change. This bill needs bipartisan support and a committee hearing. Let’s put some pressure on the House. Call Representative Olson, the chair of the committee, and email the legislators. 

Let’s force the change.

Mina Gherman