List is first step to ensure safe household products and protect children’s health under Maine’s first-in-the-nation Safer Chemicals Law
Statement by Matt Prindiville, NRCM Toxics Project Director
“Today Maine took a big leap forward toward ensuring that the products we buy and use in our homes are free from toxic chemicals.
“Based on the best science, today the State of Maine released a list of the 1,700 chemicals that are of greatest concern as threats to children’s health. This list includes chemicals contained in common consumer products such as toys, cosmetics and personal care products, electronics and home furnishings.
“The overwhelming majority of these chemicals did not receive any significant testing for health effects before being included in consumer products, but subsequent research by independent scientists has revealed concerns.
“This marks great progress for Maine’s safer chemicals law, a first-in-the-nation bill adopted in 2008 aimed at systematically identifying and removing toxics from the products sold in Maine.
“Maine adopted legislation last year because the federal system for regulating chemicals in consumer products is broken. Today’s announcement represents an important step forward in reducing the hazardous chemicals we are exposed to everyday, and which then accumulate in our bodies where they can have significant health effects.
“These 1,700 chemicals are most harmful to developing babies and children, and also young wildlife.
“Fortunately products can be produced without these unnecessary, dangerous chemicals. In many cases, safer chemicals and alternative technologies are widely available at comparable costs.
“These laws have paved the way for other states to follow.
Maine’s law sets out a four-step process to begin phasing out dangerous chemicals:
Today Maine announced its list of toxic chemicals of high concern.
The next step will be to narrow the list to those chemicals of highest priority.
Next, manufacturers will be required to report which of their products contain these chemicals, and to evaluate what safer alternatives exist.
Finally, the state will work to phase out the uses of the high hazard chemicals that are most likely to expose children in favor of safer alternative chemicals or safer technologies which render the use of the chemical unnecessary.