by Hannah Pingree, Mom and former Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives

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I am a new mom who will show you pictures of my amazing young daughter until you can’t take it anymore.  I am also a former politician, recently term-limited as the Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives.  As an elected official, I was passionate about health issues, and so proud of the work we were able to do in Maine to phase out some key toxic chemicals in kids products.  But there is nothing like having your own child to really make you understand the importance of this issue. 

And that is why I am excited to join Jessica Alba today to ask moms across the country to help call on our  U.S. Senators and ask them to step up and be "our heroes" and support the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011.

There is a critical hearing this Thursday 11/17 in Washington, D.C. so we need to raise our voices louder than ever. Will you join me, Jessica Alba and hundreds of concerned moms and email your Senator right now to ask for support (or even better co-sponsorship!) of the Safe Chemicals Act?

"If toxic chemicals in kids products make you angry, then Thursday 11/17 is a big day for you and today is an opportunity to use your voice."

When I think about toxic chemicals in kids products I get angry.  I recently got an email about a crib mattress report revealing that the majority of baby mattresses contain chemicals that could impact an infant’s health.  That same week I heard about Johnson & Johnson phasing out a formaldehyde-releasing chemical (a carcinogen for babies and adults) from their baby products.  Who knew it was in there in the first place?!   It isn’t easy to be a mom (or dad) these days as it is, who needs these extra concerns?

For the last two months I have been working with the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition as we attempt to overhaul the nation’s chemical safety laws to protect the health of families.  This week is more important than ever and I hope you'll join us and send a message to your Senator now.

"This shouldn’t be a partisan issue.  And it shouldn’t even be controversial. Basic protections against toxic chemicals are pretty darn simple."

As I watch my teething daughter attempt to put everything in her mouth, I realize that the safety of our products isn’t just an important policy issue for politicians- but for all American families.  Americans of all ages are outraged to learn about cancer-causing chemicals in their beauty products, shower curtains, and even their food packaging. We need to ask our Senators to be heroes and get this done.

If toxic chemicals in kids products make you angry, then Thursday 11/17 is a big day for you and today is an opportunity to use your voice. This shouldn’t be a partisan issue.  And it shouldn’t even be controversial. Basic protections against toxic chemicals are pretty darn simple and they need to happen now.

As a politician, I cared about trying to move legislation and policy that I thought would make a difference. Now that I am entrusted with the health and safety of a tiny human being, there is almost nothing I wouldn’t do to protect her.  So, I hope you will join me to help keep our families safer from toxic chemicals.   Please go call, hand write, and email your U.S. Senators now and ask them to sign onto the Safer Chemicals Act of 2011.  Make your comments polite.  Make them personal. And do it today.