Why is your organization a member of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition?
The Environmental Health Principles of the American Nurses Association (ANA) provide a strong foundation to protect the health and well-being of nurses, patients, families, communities and the wider world. The Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Coalition is a natural partnership for the ANA, as nurses are committed to advocating for safe and healthy environments, as we’ve articulated through our environmental principles.
Who does your organization represent?
ANA is a full-service professional organization representing the interests of 3.1 million registered nurses (RNs), the single largest group of healthcare professionals in the United States.
What is your job title and responsibility?
As a Senior Policy Fellow in the Center for Occupational Health at ANA, I have played a leadership role in the collection, analysis (both quantitative and qualitative), reporting and dissemination of state and local data related to environmental health issues. Additionally, I pursue a research and policy agenda and strategies that advance environmental health policies.
Do you have a story about toxic chemicals you are willing to share?
As a health care professional I really admire the efforts, commitment and labor of nurses. Nurses have high incidences of exposure to chemicals at the work place. A released study in December 2007 co-authored by ANA, Environmental Working Group and Health Care Without Harm found that nurses are exposed to a shocking number of toxic chemicals in their daily work routines. In addition, nurses touch, ingest and breathe residues of many potentially harmful substances as they care for their patients every day. I believe nurses are the heart of hospitals and their daily contact with hazards of the workplace is an issue that concerns everyone.
What’s your hope for this work? What outcome do you want to see?
I believe this coalition has a realistic dream. We already have the support of science, and the passion and commitment I have found in all the members of our coalition makes us strong, and I believe that the dream of seeing TSCA legislation pass will come true. It is not an easy task but with the support of grassroots organizations and the American people we will reform current legislation and assist the chemical industry in becoming more sustainable and less toxic.