Read the latest statement from the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine on the DEP’s newly proposed phthalates rule.
January 15, 2014
Statement of Kathy Kilrain del Rio, Director of Program & Development, Maine Women’s Lobby
Responding to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s proposal to significantly weaken the citizen-initiated rule to name four phthalates as Priority Chemicals under Maine’s Kid-Safe Products Act
(AUGUSTA) Maine parents and pregnant women have a right to know which everyday products contain hormone-disrupting chemicals called phthalates. This citizen-initiated proposal would have provided that information and helped protect Maine children from learning disabilities, reproductive problems, asthma and allergies.
We are dismayed and disappointed that the Department has once again chosen symbolism over substance. Their decision to significantly narrow the focus of the rule to only cover products that are intentionally marketed to young children ignores the overwhelming scientific evidence of harm during fetal exposure. This leaves pregnant women completely in the dark about which products are safer and which could cause harm.
The DEP’s proposal would limit phthalate reporting to only those products intended for children under the age of 12 for cosmetics, personal care products, clothing, footwear, personal accessories, and craft supplies. Everyday products used by teenagers and adults, including pregnant women, would be exempt from the reporting requirement. This means we’re all still going to be left in the dark about whether our shampoo, our lotion, or even our raincoat contains phthalates. It’s a huge missed opportunity and shows a blatant disregard for Maine’s science-based approach to protecting kids and pregnant women from harmful chemicals.
The DEP has ignored the overwhelming scientific evidence, the 1600 public comments in support of the citizen’s proposal, the lack of opposition, and the clear intent of lawmakers who have supported Maine’s Kid-Safe Products Act over the past seven years. Rather than abiding by the law’s clear intention to protect pregnant women, the DEP has chosen to circumvent Maine lawmakers and narrow the focus to suit the chemical industry and product makers.
This proposal can and must be changed. In the weeks to come we will be urging the DEP to support healthy pregnancies and drop their proposed roll-back of the phthalates rule. We need Maine lawmakers to help us correct this wrong and support parents’ and pregnant women’s right to know which products contain these dangerous chemicals.
- The citizen-initiated proposal, submitted with over 2000 signatures in May 2014, as well as the supporting science can be found on the DEP website under Chapter 888.
- The DEP’s proposal announced yesterday can be found at: Chapter 888: Designation of Four Members of The Chemicals Class Phthalates as Priority Chemicals.
- Phthalates are commonly used in consumer products found in the home. They are used in soft vinyl plastics, such as lunch boxes, kids’ backpacks, school supplies, rain jackets, packaging, and flooring. They are also hidden behind the word “fragrance”, where they end up in cosmetics, lotions, and other personal care products.
- Earlier this year 25 Mainers had their bodies tested for the presence of seven different phthalates. The results, published in “Hormones Disrupted: Toxic Phthalates in Maine People”, were shocking to many of the participants and ignited the citizen-initiated petition effort to find out more about which everyday products contain the dangerous chemicals.
- Because of this significant change in the proposed rule, the DEP now must re-open the comment period, which will end on February 17th.
The Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine is a coalition of over 50 public health, medical, parent, community, women’s, worker, environmental, and public interest organizations dedicated to protecting public health and the environment by replacing unnecessary dangerous chemicals with safer alternatives. www.cleanandhealthyme.org