I can get pretty heated up about chemical contamination issues, but if you really want to see the steam coming from my ears, tell me about children being exposed to toxic substances. Then the Mama Bear in me takes over, and whether or not the cubs are my own, I can get pretty fierce in my attempts to protect them.
I've received two different emails today with links to a USA Today article about the location of public schools near toxic chemical sites. You can read the article here: http://content.usatoday.com/news/nation/environment/smokestack/index
Besides the article, this site also gives you the option of finding the chemical pollution ranking of any school location in the country. After you read the article, you can go here:
http://www.childproofing.org and find out what you can do to make schools and our communities safer places for children to live and learn.
Childproofing our Communities is a project of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ), a non-profit organization founded by Lois Gibbs, the mother living near Love Canal thirty years ago, who led the fight against that toxic spot. Their mission statement says that they will assist any individual, family or community in the fight for a safer environment. They are currently leading the way to insisting that the EPA follow through on already established policies of building schools in safe locations. This is really a big issue. One place this controversy has raged is in the Salt Lake Valley, where plans were made to build a secondary school in a big industrial area right next to I-15. Clearly, this was not a healthy location for children to spend the bulk of their daylight hours.
I see the location of schools, however, as only half the battle. There are many communities (like Utah Valley, where some of my grandchildren live) in which the overall air pollution is so bad that no school location has a good rating. So the battle to clean up the whole community has to to on.
There is much work to do in cleaning up our toxic environment, with too many people in denial of the seriousness of the problem, but almost everyone agrees that children should be protected, so that's a good place to start.