Protecting Family Health with our HEALTHY PEOPLE Program
Through the Strategy Center’s leadership, the State of Maine has set the pace nationally for policy solutions that protect human health from unnecessary toxic chemicals.
- Safer Chemical Policy Reform. In 2008, we led the campaign to pass the first comprehensive safer chemical policy reform in the United States. This landmark legislation, the Kids Safe Products Act, which we co-authored, led to adoption in 2009 of a list of 1,700 Chemicals of High Concern based on their inherent hazards. Next, manufacturers must disclose their use of priority chemicals in everyday products, to which the State may require safer alternatives. This Maine law inspired similar chemical policy reform elements that have passed in four states.
- Phasing out the Use of Toxic Chemicals in Products. EHSC has spearheaded successful campaigns to phase out the use of toxics like arsenic and brominated flame retardants in common household products. These laws have become models for other states and have removed hazards here in Maine.
- Lead Poisoning Prevention. Maine has collected nearly $2 million in an annual Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund EHSC helped secure through legislation in 2005 to provide critically needed monies for educational outreach and training of contractors, parents and workers to prevent exposure to old lead paint dust which robs young children of intelligence. The funding comes from the paint industry, which sold toxic lead paint for so long.
Creating Green Jobs through our HEALTHY ECONOMY Program
The Environmental Health Strategy Center aims to catalyze green economic development in rural Maine through production of nontoxic, petroleum-free, compostable plastic made from Maine potatoes. In just four years, we have grown this visionary concept into a serious effort to develop a commercial enterprise.
- Research and Development Underway. A $2 million research and development consortium led by Environmental Health Strategy Center with significant involvement from business, agriculture and the University of Maine is pursuing innovations to make bioplastics cost effectively from Maine potatoes and woody biomass. This public/private partnership was catalyzed with funding from the Maine Technology Institute, foundation grants, and project partners.
- Green Job Potential Established. Economic research by the University of Maine identified significant market potential for bioplastic sales by Maine businesses. Ninety percent of Maine businesses surveyed would buy bioplastics in place of conventional petroleum plastics if available and affordable. Making bioplastics from Maine potatoes and woody biomass would create 860 new jobs, including 150 manufacturing jobs, according to our project economists.
- Sustainable Bioplastics Council of Maine Launched. In 2009 we organized a business-led alliance, the Sustainable Bioplastics Council of Maine, to promote the market opportunities to be realized through development of this innovative technology. The Strategy Center manages the project and we are leading a sustainability analysis to ensure the entire lifecycle of Maine bioplastic is healthy for people and the environment.