Smart discussion about toxics policy reform

Write a letter to the editor

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Letters to the Editor (LTEs) are an excellent opportunity to share your support for the Safe Chemicals Act and inform your community about it. LTEs are also a chance to support or oppose what you read in the article you’re responding to. To get published and send a strong message, follow these simple guidelines:

When to submit a letter to the editor

  • LTEs are published in response to an article that relates to the topic. Keep your eyes open for articles on toxics, baby bottles or state/federal legislation like the Toxic Substances Control Act or Kid-Safe.
  • Be timely – try to respond within two or three days of the article’s publication.

Where to submit a LTE

  • Send letters to your weekly community newspapers, as well as the larger publications. It is often easier to get your letter printed in a newspaper with a small circulation.

Write a persuasive letter that will get published

  • Keep it short –no more than 150-200 words. Longer letters are more likely to be edited. Better to you edit it yourself.
  • Stick to a single subject.
  • Refer to the specific article in the newspaper.
  • It’s okay to be passionate, but it’s not effective to be abusive and rude. Don’t attack a person: argue for or against their opinions.
  • Think of a new way to approach the issue, including offering solutions to the problem.
  • Use facts and figures whenever you can, but don’t overuse them.
  • Look at the letter from the editor’s perspective. Does it offer something new and unique? Will readers benefit from reading it? Is it easy to read and follow?

Details

  • Be sure to include your contact information. You might receive a call to verify your identity.
  • Type it, double-space it and proofread it. And then do it again.
  • Don’t be discouraged if your letter isn’t published. Write again when appropriate.

Our sample – to get you thinking!

I found the story in last DATE paper on TOPIC interesting and alarming. Every day, it seems, there is another story about toxic chemicals harming human health and the environment. Unfortunately, there is little we as individuals can do to prevent our families from being exposed. The loose federal law that regulates chemicals — the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976 — is responsible for an entire population of polluted people. The law is considered the weakest of all major environmental laws on the books.

It is so toothless that EPA was unable to ban asbestos – a chemical responsible for 10,000 deaths a year. We need fundamental reform in the way we regulate chemicals. The Safe Chemicals Act would require chemical companies to prove their products are safe for children before being allowed on the market. Sadly, under the current law, over 80,000 chemicals have gone onto the market and into products with virtually no safety tests. As a result, babies are being polluted with hundreds of industrial chemicals. while still in the womb. (175 words)