I was reminded last night what a powerful and urgent issue we work on. This is a picture of over 200 pairs of fire fighter boots in San Francisco, raising awareness about the increased cancer rates in fire fighter populations.
It was part of a campaign called Give Toxics the Boot, where we teamed up with the filmmakers of the documentary Toxic Hot Seat and the International Association of Fire Fighters to call on our leaders to protect us from toxic chemicals.
We spent the evening with filmmakers James Redford and Kirby Walker and screened the film in Washington DC. (You can read our exclusive interview with them here.)
I’ll be honest, as someone who works in this field, it’s always a little scary when a documentary comes out about your issue. You wonder what angle they will take, how they’ll tell the story, and Redford and Walker nailed it.
The documentary is a powerful, and factual account of the challenges we face as we try to put common sense limits on toxic chemicals. The chemical industry, with deep roots and ties to the tobacco industry, will go to any length to protect the chemicals they make.
It’s the story about fire fighters and their unique exposure to toxic chemicals and cancer rates as a result. The story about people and public health advocates working together to change the status quo. And it follows the investigative reporters at the Chicago Tribune who released the four part series Playing With Fire exposing the chemical industry and flame retardants as both ineffective and toxic.
Meanwhile in states across the country public health leaders and fire fighters hosted events to give toxics the boot. Take a moment to see some of the great photos from yesterday’s events.
Watch the film
The documentary is also available for educational purposes for educators, fire fighters and non-profits who want to host screenings in their home town.
How you can take action
Inspired to take action?
Sign our petition to Congress asking them to give toxic chemicals the boot!
We’re expanding our reach all across the country, but we need more help. People like you are the key to our success. We need an army of concerned citizens to counter the weight of the chemical industry’s deep pockets.
Join the movement today!
Resources for products free of toxic flame retardants
- How to buy a flame-retardant free couch
- Children’s products tested for toxic flame retardants
- How to avoid toxic flame retardants
- Children’s furniture to avoid
- Bad news: Children/infant mattresses still use flame retardants, a list of safer mattresses can be found here
Highlights of press clips from Give Toxics the Boot launch
Huffington Post – Fire fighters sound alarm on toxic chemicals
Vermont Public Radio – Businesses target toxic chemical legislation
Washington (Spokane) – Fire fighters join campaign about health effects of toxic chemicals
Spokane, Washington – State legislators speak in support of toxic chemical regulation
Columbus, Ohio – Common furniture additive may be tied to cancer in fire fighters
Albany, New York – Fire fighters want to extinguish toxic flame retardant
San Francisco, CA – New bill would close loop hole on fire-retardant standard
St. Paul, MN- Firefighters Call For Regulations On Harmful Chemicals