You can take many steps to reduce your personal exposure in your own home, but what about in your community? We’re all vulnerable to the choices other people make. That doesn’t mean we’re helpless, though, or that we can’t become leaders in efforts to protect our communities.
- Learn about the environmental vulnerabilities of your community. The Scorecard website profiles the environmental burdens of communities throughout the United States; simply type in your zip code to learn your community’s score on air, water, chemicals, and more. In addition, Google Earth offers the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality information in real time on AIRNow.
- Learn your community’s environmental justice score. Poor communities and communities of color tend to bear a disproportionate share of environmental burdens. Scorecard’s environmental justice page helps you identify which communities are experiencing disproportionate toxic chemical releases, cancer risks from hazardous air pollutants, and proximity to Superfund sites and polluting facilities.
- Join a breast cancer organization and encourage your group to become active on environmental issues if it is not already active. Or join a breast cancer organization that is already active; the Breast Cancer Fund, for example, is a national organization committed to breast cancer and the environment. To access a list of local organizations with an interest in the environment, click here.
- Join—or start—a local environmental health group. Together you can pressure manufacturers and governments to choose safer alternatives for ingredients in cleaning products, cosmetics, and other common products and to require more rigorous testing of health effects. To find an organization near you, visit the Collaborative on Health and the Environment’s website. For a model of a statewide coalition, visit the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow website.
- Vote for candidates who champion environmental safety. Let candidates know why you’re voting for them—and hold them accountable once they’re in office. If no one else is promoting environmental safety, become a candidate yourself.
- Monitor and challenge potentially misleading statements in the media. The media may resort to such broad statements as, ‘‘there is no evidence that [the chemical] causes breast cancer’’ when ‘‘no evidence’’ often reflects research areas that haven’t been studied or in which methodological problems are especially tricky. Industry statements that “there is no human evidence that…” means the corporations are trying to discourage precautionary action based on animal studies.
- Support environmental action groups and breast cancer coalitions by volunteering your time and making donations.
- Incorporate into your community newsletter or onto your website one of Silent Spring Institute’s articles that are available for reprint. Or take inspiration to create your own material.
- Check out our Detox Me app for more tips on taking community action.