Today's guest blog is written by Elesha Shahinllari, LFA's Sr. Director of Public Policy and Government Relations.
Happy Earth Day! This year LFA would like to take a minute to ask people to not just think about the environment but also environmental health. Environmental health is a branch of public health that deals with the natural and built environment that can impact health. Studies such as the Carolina Lupus Study have shown that workers who have been exposed to crystalline silica (quartz) dust have a two to four fold increased chance of developing lupus. For people living with an autoimmune disease like lupus chemicals, drugs, UV rays among other environmental factors can trigger disease activity.
LFA hears weekly from people who are concerned about the ban on incandescent light bulbs that will go into effect on January 1, 2012. While this ban sought to conserve energy and help reduce toxic greenhouse gases, it has negative implications for those living with lupus that have sensitivities to UV rays like those that are admitted by compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs) and other alternative light sources.
In the Summer 2009 edition of Lupus Now, an article entitled Lighting the Way provided some great information on the science behind lighting as well as alternatives on the market for individuals with light sensitivities. Senator Enzi of Wyoming is working on a bill to repeal this ban and we have met with several other members of Congress to look for alternatives. LFA is committed to making sure that good environmental policy is also good for our environmental health but we can’t do it alone.
This Earth Day remember Environmental Health. Sign-up with the LFA as an e-advocate and you can join our work on this Environmental Health issue and all of our legislative priorities. By becoming an e-advocate you will have access to our Action Alerts, legislative updates, contact information for your elected officials, and sample letters that you can use to make your voice heard. Become an e-advocate and sign up today!