The first car my parents carted me and my brothers and sister around in, in the 1950s, didn’t even have seatbelts. Not one of us was ever strapped into a car seat. No kid I knew donned a helmet before hopping on her bike.
When I was a kid, there were no government-regulated safety standards for cribs or playpens or strollers. There were no “choking hazard” warnings on the packages containing the toys we played with, regardless of how many small, potentially detachable parts came with those toys.
Over decades marred by child deaths in car accidents, and what were determined to be preventable deaths if only baby equipment manufacturers had thought to make this crib safer, or that stroller less dangerous, the federal government stepped in.
Yet of the more than 80,000 chemicals used in the U.S. today, most haven’t been adequately tested for their impact on human health, much less on the health of children.
That’s bad enough. But this is worse: Despite being “regulated” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and despite being linked to a host of human health issues, agricultural chemicals like glyphosate and chlorpyrifos that pollute our air and water and whose residues contaminate our food, continue to be widely used. Even though cancer kills more children in the U.S. than accidents do.
My three siblings and I were lucky. We survived, minus the seatbelts and carseats and helmets that provide protection for today’s kids. But I worry for my 2-year-old grandson and 6-year-old granddaughter. Though they travel surrounded by high-tech protective gear and play with safety-tested toys, when it comes to cancer-causing chemicals, they're at the mercy of our government “protection” agencies that place a far higher value on corporate profits than they do on small lives.