Jessica Alba goes to Washington: Real Leadership continued

In my last post, I talked about the up-coming visit by Mom/Model/Actress Jessica Alba to support the Safe Chemicals Act and the work of the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families campaign.  My colleague Sarah Janssen also previewed her visit.

So, how did the Hollywood actress do in front of the cameras as she described her own personal interest in the issue – driven in part by her desire to protect her children from exposure to chemicals associated in studies with a range of health impacts including asthma, learning and developmental disabilities, reproductive problems and cancer?  Well, she was FABULOUS!  She was radiant (which most people speculated was a combination of the packed room being stuffy and her pregnancy), articulate, friendly, modest, and funny.  She clearly articulated the experience that mothers have expressed over and over again. 

Here is part of what she said:

“Like many other moms out there, I try to buy safe products for my family, but that can’t be the only solution. You can’t hire a team of scientists to do your shopping for you. At some point the government has to step in and ensure that chemicals are safe before our children are exposed to them.

As you may have heard, I’ll be having my second child soon. It would be wonderful if Congress could pass this legislation in time for his or her arrival. Don’t send flowers. No fruit baskets. Instead, let’s all give the gift of health to each other with the Safe Chemicals Act.”

Perfect.  She was perfect.

And, I RECORDED THE WHOLE THING ON MY BLACKBERRY!!   Unfortunately, the resolution is so bad that you really can’t see or hear anything.  But at least you can check out a great photo from photographer Scott Hurd:

Image removed.


And here is a photo from the press conference from People Magazine.

The press conference also featured:

They were all great too.

After the press conference, Jessica met with several Senators, both Republicans and Democrats, to press the case for reform.  Her schedule included a meeting with Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown.  You can read an account of it on the website for the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow (and see a cute photo that includes Jessica Alba, Senator Scott Brown, Erin Boles of the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition and Lindsay Dahl, Deputy Campaign Director of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families).  Senator Brown supported state-based legislation to improve protection from toxic chemicals when he served in the Massachusetts Senate.  Hopefully Senator Scott Brown will stay true to his earlier self, and become a leader in the effort to pass the Safe Chemicals Act with bi-partisan support.

She also met with Obama Administration officials, which is good because, notwithstanding EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson’s best efforts, the White House has blocked a half-dozen proposals to expand public right to know and improve regulation of toxic chemicals under TSCA.  Perhaps the visit from Jessica Alba will wake them up to the importance of the issue, and their current vacuum of leadership. 

As you can imagine, I’ve been getting a lot of teasing from my NRDC colleagues about my enthusiasm over Jessica Alba. (Ha!  They’re all just jealous!)  But it is certainly true that I love Jessica Alba:

  • for her willingness to lend her name and celebrity (I mean that in the best sense) to such a worthy and important effort;
  • for devoting her personal time to travel across country, -- while pregnant, and leaving her husband and toddler at home -- to build support for legislation that will ultimately protect all of us, and our parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren (as well as siblings, cousins, friends, neighbors and co-workers);
  • for actually talking about the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), a law that is so broken few people have even talked about it for 35 years!; 
  • and for her leadership.  She is bringing the message to members of Congress and the Obama Administration, but her effort is also a call out to others whose voices can help inform and motivate the public: actresses, actors, athletes, writers, musicians. 

Surely there are others out there who want to join Jessica, Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, and NRDC in this effort:  Danica, Dirk and Jason, Dwayne and LeBron, Jay-Z and Beyonce, the Black Keys, Wilco, Neko, Adele, Brad, Johnny, Matt, Venus and Serena, Tina and Amy, Cee-Lo … There are 100 Senators and we need at least 60 of them to support the Safe Chemcials Act (and then there’s the House).  There is no shortage of work to be done.  Come back to Washington DC with Jessica Alba and let’s make it happen!