Parents strive to protect kids from everyday chemical hazards

There may be no more powerful force for social change in the world than worried parents. And they’re turning their attention to lead in lunchboxes, bisphenol A in plastic, and other eco-nasties in their children’s daily lives, switching to greener-seeming products — like cloth totes and wax-paper wrappers for school lunches — and sharing information. Breeders’ buying power can transform the market: green goods retailer Seventh Generation has seen double-digit growth in sales for the past five years, which the company attributes in part to new parents. Making healthy choices for kids may not get easier any time soon, though, as the Bush administration has proposed killing the National Children’s Study, a research effort authorized by Congress in 2000 to understand how environmental factors affect asthma, childhood cancer, and other growing health problems. The study — set to start in 2007 — will involve tracking 100,000 children from the womb to age 21. Or would have, anyway.