#GivingTuesday: Healthy Child Healthy World
This is the third installment of our new feature, #GivingTuesday, which is six weeks away, on November 27, or the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. This year is the launch of #GivingTuesday. As a reminder, it’s a day to celebrate giving – a day when families, charities, businesses, community centers, students, retailers and more can come together to encourage giving during the holiday season. Appropriately, it’s also after Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.
Again, every Tuesday ahead of #GivingTuesday (I’m delayed this week–boo! and sorry), I will be highlight a non-profit organization that is meaningful to me. I hope that you will consider them in your charitable efforts on #GivingTuesday and in other ways as well, by using your time and/or your voice. Thank you.
Today, I’d like to introduce Healthy Child Healthy World which is a leading environmental non-profit organization. Their mission is to empower parents to take action and protect their children from harmful chemicals. They do this by working with manufacturers and supporting policy initiatives to transform the marketplace and the world into a safer environment for children.
But, all while doing this important advocacy and policy work every day, Healthy Child also serves as a trusted go-to resource for parents (and has done so for the past twenty years), arming them with the critical information so they can make smarter everyday choices to reduce toxic chemical exposure in their homes and communities.
I first learned about Healthy Child through Dr. Harvey Karp of the Happiest Baby on the Block fame over seven years ago and realized that I really needed Healthy Child years earlier when I was a new mom, breastfeeding my infant son, and paralyzed with fear by link-baiting newspaper headlines warning that “breastmilk is toxic.” In hindsight it was clear that the articles were overblown, but I was in a panic and so I did something that no seems pretty extreme. By phone, I tracked down Dr. Philip Landrigan (coincidentally also a Healthy Child Advisory Board member) whom is a leading researcher on the effects of toxins on children’s health. He was doing a research on the toxins in mother’s breastmilk and the associate doctors on his team were patient, kind and most of all well-informed. After a quick interview, they explained to me why it was clear to them that likelihood of my “breastmilk being toxic” or currently contaminated with mercury (which was my biggest fear) was low.
What I learned from that experience was how for the first time I cared so much more about the issue of toxins and chemicals in our environment and also how scared of them I was. And, yes, the issue can be a frightening and often paralyzing one. And that is exactly why Healthy Child stands out in its work and why they are so needed. Their website is a friendly, helping hand. They address environmental health concerns clearly and suggests easy and actionable steps that any parent can make. They are always my go-to resource for any issue.
Also, they do important work to change policy and practices urging our government and companies to make our world safer for our kids. For example, right now, Healthy Child has embarked on a mission to petition Kellogg’s to take artificial food dyes out of their children’s fruit snacks because research shows that artificial food dyes have been linked to cancer, hyperactivity and allergies, and thus do not belong in children’s fruit snacks. Many parents are unaware of the risks associated with food dyes and mistakenly assume “fruit snacks” are a healthier snack alternative for their children. Healthy Child points to Kellogg’s equivalent product in Britain, Fruit Winders Snacks, which are made without food dyes, yet in Kellogg’s US fruit snacks still contain artificial colors. Why? Because in Britain, a warning label is required on all foods containing artificial food dyes. The point being Kellogg’s can make this safe change and they know it.
Healthy Child is our advocate working tirelessly to make this world a healthier and safer environment for our kids. Let’s support them during #GivingTuesday and beyond. And, while you’re at it, go ahead and sign the petition being delivered to Kellogg’s.