The Loretta Sanchez post is challenging me to focus on some of the more positive things that our leaders are doing. I’m going to try to highlight a Latino legislator of the week every Friday, as long as they are in session and working. Obviously, these folks get nice paid holidays that most working Americans don’t have these days, but I want to learn more about what our elected officials are cooking up in Congress, the Senate, and in state legislatures around the country and share that information with you.
In the spirit of highlighting what some of the Hispanic Caucus members could or should be doing to better our lives, I thought that I would focus on Representative Hilda Solis (D-CA) and the legislation that she’s introducing with Congressman Waxman (D-CA) and Senator Lautenberg (D-NJ) to establish safety standards for chemicals used in baby bottles, children’s toys and other products. There have been reports that the plastic chemical chemical bisphenol A, used in water bottles, linings of cans, baby bottles, etc., causes pre-cancerous tumors in rats. There are 80,000 chemicals used to produce products in our homes, and the EPA is only required to do tests on 200 of those. I would hope that there is a certain safety standard when it comes to water bottles, baby bottles, and toys. The least we can do as a society is give our children non-toxic items to consume from and play with. The Kids Safe Chemical Act would create a safety standard each chemical on the market and shift the burden from the EPA to the chemical manufacturers to determine a chemical’s safety. The bill would give the EPA the ability to chemicals that do not meet their safety standard.
This piece of legislation is important. With the increases in various cancers, links have been established between toxic chemicals in products and in our environment. The Latino population is also relatively young, so there are thousands of babies who are drinking out of bottles and playing with toys. Also, Hilda Solis has a good strategy in partnering with two prolific legislators. Lautenberg has been involved in environmental causes and has over 20 years of legislative experience at the federal level. Waxman is also considered to be a very influential and effective legislator, and he’s also been in Congress for around 30 years. The newer members can have more success working with more established legislators. This also looks like another successful Latino-Jewish partnership in the making, as both Waxman and Lautenberg are practicing Jews.
Photo Credit: Washington Post