Women for a Healthy Environment empowers individuals with vital information to help them advocate for change while also building coalitions to help pass large scale policy initiatives. As scientific evidence of the most pressing threats to environmental health evolves, so will our areas of focus for policy initiatives. Today, we are focusing on a number of important policy initiatives, including:
PFAS and Firefighting Foam
PFAS, also known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or “forever chemicals”, are a class of man-made chemicals found in a type of firefighting foam known as Class B Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF). These chemicals do not break down easily in the environment and can contaminate our drinking water and soil, leading to many potential health problems. We are calling for an AFFF take back program in Pennsylvania to prevent further contamination and to store the foam until it can be safely disposed of. Twelve other states have already successfully implemented take back programs, taking thousands of gallons of PFAS-containing firefighting foam out of commission.
Pesticides in Pittsburgh
Many of the pesticides sprayed in our parks and public spaces contain cancer-causing chemicals like glyphosate. The use of these chemicals puts children, outdoor workers, pets, and anyone who enjoys spending time outdoors at risk of developing chronic health problems. But pesticides are not the only way we can control weeds, insects, and rodents. Over 200 other cities across the United States have already adopted safe pest management plans without exposing residents to synthetic pesticides. We are advocating for the City of Pittsburgh to adopt an Integrated Pest Management plan that employs organic and regenerative land management principles to safely control these pests without harming the people who live and play in these spaces.
Lead Free Promise Project
In Pennsylvania, 8,500 kids test positive for elevated blood lead levels every year. To make matters worse, the true burden of childhood lead poisoning may be 5x greater because less than 20% of children are actually tested for lead poisoning. This problem is widespread and devastating, but childhood lead poisoning is entirely preventable. With the Lead Free Promise Project Coalition, we are advocating for a strategy to end childhood lead poisoning across the state by 1) providing targeted funding for a lead poisoning fund 2) testing every child for lead poisoning and 3) establishing a childhood lead poisoning protection tax credit, and 4) requ9iring lead paint disclosure for all properties built before 1978.