Why I’m Fighting to Protect Kids from Cancer
August 7, 2012
Healthy Child Healthy World was founded by Nancy and Jim Chuda, two incredible people who lost their 5-year-old daughter to cancer. Nancy and Jim transformed their grief into action twenty years ago by launching this organization to teach parents how to prevent children’s exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment.
As CEO of Healthy Child Healthy World, I’m inspired by Nancy and Jim and parents everywhere working to make the world a safer, healthier place for children. Healthy Child Healthy World wants every child to have the opportunity to grow-up in a healthy and safe environment free of toxic chemicals.
Childhood cancer. The thought of it sends shivers down my spine, but for thousands of parents a child’s cancer diagnosis is an unwelcome reality. Consider these facts:
- The highest incident rate for leukemias is found in children aged 1-4 years old. Leukemias account for 34 percent of childhood cancer incidence
- Cancer is the second leading cause of death in children under 15 years old
- More than 1,300 children will die from cancer in 2012
Together we must do more to protect kids from cancer. Too many kids are diagnosed with cancer before starting kindergarten. While better treatments have led to declining children’s deaths, cancer’s toll on a family is overwhelming.
Just ask Heather Donatini, a Healthy Child Healthy World Mom On a Mission nominee. Heather and her husband Jason lost their 4-year-old son to cancer but, like Nancy and Jim, they turned their grief into action by helping other families dealing with childhood cancer.
Why is childhood cancer on the rise when other types of cancers are declining? Chemicals in the environment have long been suspected as a factor. Studies have found cancer links to chemicals in household products including flame retardant chemicals in your sofa and TVs, BPA in receipts and canned foods, formaldehyde in hair treatments. Even food dyes used to color packaged foods including cereals, candies, and more are contaminated with substances suspected of causing cancer.
It is estimated that there are more than 80,000 chemicals registered for use in the United States and none of them have been tested for children’s safety, much less interaction with each other. Pediatric cancer has risen 30% in the last 30 years and is now the leading disease killer of children. We don’t need or want dangerous chemicals in our homes or food.
While making lifestyle choices to avoid chemicals is a good start to reducing chemicals, it’s going to take government action to eliminate cancer-causing chemicals from everyday products. Legislation pending in the U.S. Senate, the Safe Chemicals Act, is a giant step forward for protecting kids health from dangerous chemicals.
One immediate and critically important step you can take to fight childhood cancer is pick up the phone or send an email to your Senator asking her or him to support the Safe Chemicals Act. Please help us to make sure this important issue is made a priority and voted on when the Senate returns to session on September 10th. Do it today!