A Scarborough mom has been honored for her work to pass legislation safeguarding the health of Maine’s children from the threat of toxic chemicals in consumer products. Elisa Boxer-Cook was presented with the 2008 Natural Resources Council of Maine Environmental Award.
In accepting the award, Boxer-Cook shared the emotional story of how, after building her dream home, she became seriously – inexplicably – ill. Further investigation revealed that her illness was caused by the chemicals in the materials used to build her new home. Boxer-Cook’s concern was heightened when she realized the threat these toxic chemicals posed to her young son, since children’s developing brains and reproductive systems are extraordinarily vulnerable to toxic chemicals.
Boxer-Cook immediately began putting her newly acquired knowledge of toxic chemicals to use for the greater good. In 2006, when she became aware of the hazards of conventional cleaning products and pesticides used in Maine schools, Elisa drove to Augusta to testify before the Legislature’s Education committee and delivered powerful testimony at the public hearing. Elisa spoke as a mother, deeply from the heart, sharing her outrage and concern that Maine schools were still using highly toxic cleaning products and pesticides in spite of the wide availability of safer products and procedures.
This year, Boxer-Cook was a true champion for the kid-safe products bill that requires safer alternatives to toxic chemicals in children’s toys and other consumer products when viable alternatives exist. Elisa provided lead testimony at the bill’s public hearing, and she organized an in-district meeting with local doctors and nurses to meet her state representative.
In addition to being a devoted mom, Elisa Boxer-Cook is a former reporter for Channel 8 television, in Portland, and currently an adjunct communications professor.
“NRCM admires and appreciates the time and energy Elisa has devoted to the important issue of getting toxics out of our homes, our homes and workplaces,” says NRCM Executive Director Brownie Carson. “She is setting an example for people everywhere.”