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By Deb Paz
Nov 22, 2012
This past weekend I was able to attend the seventh annual One Voice Summit which was organized by Advocates for Youth, The Sierra Club, and Sexuality Information & Education Council of the United States (SIECUS).
The summit was focused on environmental and reproductive justice awareness in which attendees learned about the inequity impact in production and consumption that takes place in developed and developing worlds. Toxins that pollute the environment through destruction of natural resource , over looked safety and healthy regulations, and hazardous waste factories close by neighborhoods create burdens for people working or living around these communities. Getting to know the facts of what toxic chemicals have in connection with race and reproductive justice makes me see the reality of society that makes these issues invisible and unheard. These exposures take place in the most common places of business and the home.
According to the Reproductive Health Technologies Project (RHTP) women of color are disproportionately represented in professions where work place exposure to toxic chemicals is frequent and severe and is linked to infertility, miscarriages, cancer, and birth defects.
88% of farm workers in the US are Latinos, so their families are exposed to pesticide through their work and nourishment.
40% of nail salon technicians in the US are Asian Pacific workers who are exposed to chemicals in nail polish and nail polish removers
A majority of domestic and hospitality workers are women of color and immigrant women in which they are exposed to industrial strength cleaning supplies with known impacts on reproductive health.
56% of people living in neighborhoods within a two mile radius of hazardous waste facilities are people of color.
Lower income communities have fewer super markets leaving families with fewer choices when it comes to buying non-toxic products or healthy, natural foods. As well as cosmetics products that contain toxic chemicals marketed to women of color.
With these statistics , its hard to say that we do not see this injustice around our own communities These women and their families are making ends meet with the only occupations that seem accessible for them. And where would the rest of society be if we did not have these workers to provide this very important and necessary services? I believe we take farm workers and domestic workers for granted and do not realize how hard it actually is to work under these circumstance .As a growing progressive society we need to advocate safer regulations to our policy makers and practice becoming more educated of how products we use everyday can cause harm and finding safer alternatives. With the Safe Chemicals Act awaiting action on the senate floor we as a society can petition or notify our representative to co-sponsor this act to ensure change happens.
Every women has the right to protect her body from harmful exposure to toxins that can disrupt her reproductive health and being a activist for this issue I am determined to make this problem heard of and advocate better health care and reproductive access and choice for women all over.