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Citizens Call for Alternatives to Toxics
Testimony of Jill Stein on behalf of MCHC
State House, Boston
September 18, 2003
On behalf of the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities (MCHC), I would like to inform you of our support of H-2275 (Rep. Kaufman) and S-1268 (Sen. Tolman), An Act for a Healthy Massachusetts: Safer Alternatives for Toxic Chemicals. We urge the committee to give this bill a favorable report. This proposed legislation takes a pragmatic approach to the reduction of toxic chemicals used in Massachusetts by creating a program to replace them with safer alternatives when feasible. Such steps toward environmental health are a top priority for our group, and we are very interested in your decision on this important matter.
MCHC is a non-profit organization concerned with all aspects of building healthy communities in Massachusetts. Reducing toxic exposures is an important component of achieving healthy communities. The health impacts of toxic exposure exact a heavy toll on many aspects of community life. Dealing with the consequences of toxic injuries places an insupportable financial burden on already overwhelmed state and community budgets.
In addition to my role as President of MCHC, I speak as a physician caring for young adults living – and in some cases dying – from illnesses linked to environmental causes. I also speak from my experience as a medical educator, as co-author of a curriculum designed to update physicians on new developments in environmental health, particularly with regard to child development and chemical exposures. I am also co-author of a report entitled In Harm’s Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development which summarizes the scientific literature linking low-level exposures to toxics and developmental problems in children. This work has underscored the importance of acting to reduce toxic exposures before widespread, lifelong injuries are observed in people.
Our children deserve every chance to realize their full potential, without the burdens of toxic injuries. And our health care system, which is in fiscal crisis, should not have the additional and preventable burden of caring for people who have been injured by toxic exposures. Please act now to prevent needless and tragic toxic injuries to our children by moving this legislation forward.
Jill Stein, M.D.,
Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities