As I tell them that I work at the Center for Environmental Health, I prepare to hear the same old question by a brand new person: What does your organization do? So In the land of the lay, I keep the jargon at bay, and tell them this story of a beautiful day.
On a nice sunny afternoon, two year old Johnny kept rolling on the artificial turf installed in his backyard while suckling on his pacifier, as his 4 year old sister kept forming letters by putting together painted alphabet blocks. Meanwhile Instead of keeping an eye on the kids, their father had dozed off on the comfy new garden chair, as their mother walked in carrying a tray of freshly baked ginger cookies, a homemade mid-day snack.
Doesn’t this seem like they are a happy family? Indeed they are! But what’s more important is that they are safe; safer than they would have been in the same situation only a couple of decades ago.
So if we somehow manage to keep away the presumptive notion of linking safety to violence, we might find some veiled dangers, tactfully wrapped and labeled with guarantees of being the best. Many toxic chemicals and lead at dangerous levels have been found in consumer products, children’s toys, food products, processed ingredients, fashion accessories, furniture, bags, shoes, containers and many more daily use products.
Johnny and his family are safe due to the efforts of the Center for Environmental Health (CEH). Over the past two decades the Center for Environmental Health has ensured that the artificial turf, painted alphabet blocks, the garden chair, the tray, and the ingredients of ginger cookies are free of lead or toxic chemicals. Johnny and his family are just among the numerous families across the U.S who have saved themselves from carcinogens being supplied to them in different shapes, sizes, and packing, in almost every daily use product.
Going back twenty years, most of the general population was unaware of how the large corporations were toying with their health. While those who had a clue about what was happening could not muster up the courage to step out of their comfort zone and challenge those corporate giants who were conveniently and unrestrainedly placing their profits over the people.
However Michael Green, a young man working on the nuclear waste management at the headquarters of U.S. department of Energy, had different ideas. Despite being set to enjoy a long successfull career with the U.S Government, Michael quit his job in Washington D.C, moved to California, and founded the ‘Center for Environmental Health’, an organization he initially supported using his own credit card.
In their quest to protect those who are most vulnerable and impacted by toxic chemicals, Michael and his team have fought countless battles against corporate giants, carried out advocacy and lobbying with federal and state legislators, litigated & held accountable many toxic polluters, and have partnered with many environment friendly groups to multiply their impact. The victories have been countless over the years but must be seen to realize the huge difference CEH is making and how important it is.