WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2012/2013

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/92498

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Page 138 of 203

Three Things You Can Do to Avoid Toxic Chemicals According to Azzam, here are three easy steps you can take to help reduce toxins in your life. 1 2 3 BECOME A MORE EDUCATED CONSUMER. Do your research before you assume a chemical is safe. IF YOU INVITE A COMPANY TO YOUR HOME TO CLEAN – including carpet cleaners and house cleaners – or to provide lawn care, ask them what chemicals they are using. By law, they must provide you with a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that says what chemicals are in the products they are using. If they won't give you an MSDS, don't use them. REMEMBER THAT WE LIVE IN THIS HUGE "CHEMICAL STEW." What you do affects others. This is true with second-hand smoke, but it also true if you wash your car at home with a toxic cleaner or use pesticides on your lawn. These substances can run off into the water sup- ply or onto your neighbors' property. Azzam stresses that the main focus of the WCPP has always been on prevention. When it was founded in the late 90s, Wellesley had "statisti- cally significantly elevated" levels of prostate and breast cancers, as well as multiple myeloma (a type of bone cancer). Azzam is quick to point out that the increased numbers definitely could have been due to an educated community that had annual mammograms as well as regular prostate screenings. Due perhaps in some part to the WCPP's efforts, the occurrence of these three cancers has decreased in Wellesley. The WCPP has achieved many notable results, including suc- cessfully lobbying for the creation of a Town Pesticide Awareness Coordinator, publishing many articles in The Wellesley Townsman about the risks of toxic chemicals, and helping create Wellesley's Integrated Pest Management Program that prohibits using toxic pesti- cides on school grounds. One very important variable, says Griffith, who comes from a cor- porate background, is the community itself. "I have found Wellesley to be a town that's very receptive to learning more about staying healthy, and that's key, " she adds. To learn more about the WCPP, to get information about town-wide forums, or to find out how to donate time or money, you can explore its website at www.wcpponline.org or find it on Facebook and Twitter. 137 winter 2012/2013 | WellesleyWeston Magazine

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