by Brownie Carson, NRCM executive director
The Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) is pleased to have co-sponsored the “Body of Evidence,” a study of pollution in Maine people.
This study clearly shows how toxic chemicals — in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the products that fill our homes and workplaces — are accumulating in our bodies.
NRCM believes that to protect our families, wildlife and environment, the state needs to outlaw the use of toxic chemicals in common consumer products.
By phasing out harmful chemicals in favor of safer ones, and requiring that all industrial chemicals are proven safe, we can protect Maine people and wildlife.
NRCM has worked with allies in the legislature and environmental and public health communities for decades to urge the state to eliminate certain toxic chemicals from certain products and Maine’s waste stream, with many successes. At our urging, the state has banned the sale of mercury-containing thermometers, thermostats and many other devices. At our urging, Maine now requires manufacturers to pay to safely collect and recycle computer monitors and television sets — which contain five pounds of lead — at the end of their useful life. We were also instrumental in the passage of a law that requires dentists to cut mercury discharges and one that requires carmakers to pay to take back components that contain mercury.
Despite these and other successes, it is clear that a “one-chemical-at-a-time” approach is not enough. Our system that regulates chemicals is broken and it must be fixed – that is the task at hand. Maine must adopt a new “safe chemicals” policy – to protect the health of both people and our environment.