International Women's Day: Why Plastic Pollution Impacts Women and Children Today (and Every Day)

Today, 8 March 2012, is International Women’s Day, a global celebration of women’s achievements meant to inspire girls from every corner of the globe.

International Women’s Day is a tremendous opportunity to talk about our victories and successes of the past year. At the Plastic Pollution Coalition, our robust team has expanded to add several new powerful women working behind the scenes (and several terrific men!). We’ve expanded our global campaigns and are creating dialogue about plastic pollution between women and men on six continents.

But today is also an opportunity to discuss why women’s health issues related to plastic pollution should be at the forefront of policy discussions and environmental advocacy. We should be calling for greater action on several key issues related to plastics and toxic chemicals.

Plastic pollution has a devastating effect on women’s and children’s health. Chemicals that are used in plastics, like bisphenol A (BPA) and phlatates, leech out of products and into our bodies. Phthalates are endocrine-disrupting chemicals that have been shown to disrupt the normal child development, leading to developmental problems including early puberty in girls. This is particularly troubling because early breast development in otherwise healthy girls has been linked to later instances of breast cancer. BPA is equally toxic and has been associated with increased risk of miscarriages, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.

That’s why the Plastic Pollution Coalition has partnered with groups like the Breast Cancer Fund to raise awareness about the public health problems related to the chemicals used in plastic production. Plastic pollution clogs up our clean water and fills the air with dioxins with incinerated. It pollutes the planet, and increasingly, it pollutes our bodies.

On International Women’s Day, we encourage you to join the PPC’s fight against toxic chemicals and plastic pollution. Help us create a world in which girls (and boys) grow up safe and healthy, free from the damaging effects of toxic chemicals and persistent pollutants. Our girls and boys deserve a better world.

Photo via Steve and Jemma Copley on Flickr

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