How the Green New Deal Helps Protect Babies’ Brains

February 8, 2019
How the Green New Deal Helps Protect Babies’ Brains lead image

Yesterday, U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey introduced their Green New Deal to address climate change and create jobs. If their joint resolution turns into new federal law and appropriations, it will also go a long way to protecting babies’ brains.

The Green New Deal sets out a 10-year national mobilization that includes eliminating pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The actions necessary to accomplish this goal will lower the levels of air pollutants that come from the burning of fossil fuels. Scientists tell us that these toxic emissions, called PAHS, contribute to learning and behavioral problems and disorders like ADHD or autism.

Another goal of the Green New Deal is "guaranteeing universal access to clean water" through "repairing and upgrading the infrastructure." This would mean putting people to work replacing all of the lead pipes that now are contaminating our drinking water. One in every six homes now has more lead in their water than is safe for bottle fed infants. Children who are exposed to lead can face lifelong impacts, including reduced intelligence and behavior problems.

The Ocasio-Cortez/Markey plan includes "pouring massive growth in clean manufacturing" including removing pollution from industry. Federal investments in clean manufacturing can teach us how to process food so it has no phthalates and how to produce electronics, furniture and fabrics without brain-harming flame retardants. And the goal to eliminate pollution from the agricultural sector can include more research on how to produce rice without arsenic.

The emphasis in the Green New Deal to find solutions to pollution that protect front line and vulnerable communities aims to rebuild the United States so the country can live up to the promise of "justice for all." For ALL. It’s a promise that this Congress will have a hard time turning into a funded plan of action.

Still, the Ocasio-Cortez/Markey Green New Deal sets out powerful vision. A vision for the country all babies deserve. And that vision deserves our support.