I just came back from a press event where I got to speak alongside physicians, small business owners, public health advocates, concerned parents and their children, and legislators in support of Maine’s chemical safety laws. We worked with our friends in the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine to hold the event to celebrate and defend the Kid-Safe Products Law and Maine’s other chemical safety laws.
Maine’s Kid-Safe Products Law helps parents protect their kids by convening a scientific process to identify and phase out the “worst-of-the-worst” toxic chemicals in products we use every day. It offers common sense solutions to reduce the heavy burden of costly chronic disease that affects every family, school district, and business in Maine – preventable diseases linked to toxic chemicals like learning disabilities, lead poisoning, asthma and cancer.
We had originally convened the press event as a way to celebrate these laws and thank legislators who had sponsored and voted for them. Unfortunately, Governor LePage proposed repealing the Kid-Safe Products Law and others earlier this week in the Phase I Regulatory Reform Proposal.
Representative Dana Dow (R-Waldoboro) delivered powerful remarks in support of the law he co-sponsored and helped to pass with overwhelming bipartisan support (35-0 in the Senate and 129-9 in the House) when he served in the Senate in 2008. Emily Cain (D-Orono and House Democratic Leader) also spoke eloquently about how protecting kids from toxic chemicals is “just common sense.” We couldn’t agree more, and hope that the Governor can be persuaded to drop this part of his agenda. Please make your voice heard on these matters by contacting your legislators.
Here’s my statement from today’s event:
I am pleased to stand here today with legislators, business people, physicians, and concerned parents to celebrate the progress made to protect Maine families from toxic chemicals. We’re here today to say: Maine’s safer chemical laws are working. They offer common sense solutions to reducing the heavy burden of costly chronic disease that affects every family and business in Maine – diseases that are almost entirely preventable.
At least $380 million is spent every year in Maine on health costs related to toxic chemicals, including learning disabilities, cancer, asthma, and lead poisoning. We’re shocked that the Governor has chosen to target these laws and the rule that will get bisphenol-A out of baby bottles and sippy cups, something that 10 other states comprising more than half of the nation’s population have already done – a recommendation that was approved unanimously by the Board of Environmental Protection after they looked exhaustively at the scientific basis for why is it critical to phase out the use of this endocrine disrupting chemical from our reusable food and beverage containers.
We believe the administration’s proposal takes us in exactly the wrong direction. We need lawmakers to focus on keeping the Kid-Safe Products Act working as it was intended – helping parents protect their kids by getting the worst-of-the-worst chemicals out of products we all use every day. Children should be safe at school too. We need lawmakers to make sure kids aren’t exposed to pesticides on school grounds. And we need to help our communities get more dangerous chemicals out of our landfills and our ground water by creating more public/private partnerships that encourage recycling. These are the types of things lawmakers could and should be focused on, not doing the industry’s bidding by rolling back solutions that protect kids and support our small businesses.
The public supports these laws; legislators support these laws; the only group that doesn’t want these laws is the chemical industry. We’re surprised and concerned that the Governor seems to be putting the desires of an out-of-state industry over the needs of Maine families and small businesses. We’re also dismayed that the Governor seems to think the federal government’s ‘bare minimums’ are good enough for Maine. Congress hasn’t updated our federal chemical laws in over 30 years, despite mountains of new science that proves harm beyond doubt.
Let’s face it, no jobs are going to be created by making children more vulnerable to disease. But by moving forward with more collaborative common sense solutions to the problem of toxic chemicals, we CAN create new jobs in innovation, manufacturing, and product recycling.
Our recognition and thanks go to the 164 Maine lawmakers who voted for the Kid-Safe Products Act in 2008, including the 74 who are currently serving in the 125th Legislature. We appreciate your leadership and we look forward to working with you to keep Maine moving forward with safer chemicals, healthy families, and lower costs for everyone.
Clean Production Project Director, Legislative Coordinator