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Toxic Threats to Children

1997 General Resolution

BECAUSE Unitarian Universalists covenant to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person and respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part; and

WHEREAS a team of scientists and doctors appointed by the National Academy of Sciences issued a report entitled "Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children" in which they said that children are at risk of overexposure to agricultural pesticides and other toxins;

WHEREAS pesticides banned in the United States are freely sold to foreign customers, thus endangering both foreign populations and United States consumers of imported produce;

WHEREAS lead poisoning has been declared "the most serious environmental threat to the health of American children" by the United States Department of Health and Human Services and statistics available in 1996 show that nine percent of all children under six years of age in the United States are lead poisoned;

WHEREAS a significant number of scientific studies demonstrate that environmental pollutants are implicated in disruptions of the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems of a variety of animals and may pose a threat to children and adults, with children the more vulnerable;

WHEREAS toxins in the environment disproportionately damage poor children; and

WHEREAS "since 1950, 70,000 new chemical compounds have been invented and dispersed into our environment . . . [although] only a fraction of these have been tested for human toxicity; we are by default conducting a massive clinical toxicological trial and our children and their children are the experimental animals" (Needleman & Landrigan, Raising Children Toxic Free);

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Unitarian Universalist Association urges Unitarian Universalist congregations and individual Unitarian Universalists to:

  1. Inform themselves and their communities regarding these issues;
  2. Work with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee and other groups working to reduce toxic threats;
  3. Reduce their "toxic load" by making more careful choices of foods, building materials, and other products in their homes and congregations;
  4. Work cooperatively to develop shareholder resolutions which expand corporate adherence to the CERES (Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economics) Principles, a corporate environmental code; and
  5. Encourage more independent objective research on the effects of toxins and the development of safer alternatives.

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