Mary Brune was pregnant with her third child when we met during the National Stroller Brigade in Washington. I had nothing to complain about in the humid May heat when expectant moms like her were gracefully strolling along for a good cause. We were all gathered to show Washington that moms care about our children’s health and we expect common sense chemical reform to help protect them.
I asked Brune, who had been volunteering on related causes for years, what the event supporting the Safe Chemicals Act meant to her. She gave a hopeful response, “When you come together and stand side by side with other concerned mothers and feel the groundswell of support, it seems possible, inevitable.”
Brune said her oldest child was just six months old when she started hearing about perchlorate, a substance found in rocket fuel, being discovered in breast milk. Scientists say perchlorate can interfere with normal thyroid hormone function. She channeled her outrage about this, constructively, into helping create the MOMS project, which stands for Making Our Milk Safe, now a program of the Center for Environmental Health. “We continue to breastfeed our babies because it’s the best, but the presence of chemicals in breastmilk is a trespass on that sacred space between us and our children.”
The MOMS project has been involved in grassroots efforts to advocate for healthier environments for our children. Local MOMSquads are becoming more informed consumers, promoting breastfeeding along with efforts to keep breastmilk safe, and calling on cleaning up toxins in consumer products through the Safe Chemicals Act.
MOMS is spreading the message that lawmakers should listen to more than just industry jargon when it comes to making policy decisions. The voices of families and communities are speaking out, like those of pregnant moms. Brune smiled and didn’t seem a bit tired after a day of marching on Washington, “We’ve got the moral authority of motherhood on our side.”