Did you know that our chemical safety system is badly broken? Everyday products contain thousands of dangerous chemicals and tens of thousands more have never been tested for health hazards.
Chemicals like BPA and phthalates are used in hundreds of household items, pollute the air and dust in our homes and our food supply, and contaminate our bodies. Credible scientific evidence has linked chemical exposure to certain cancers, learning disabilities, asthma and other health threats. Pregnant women and children are especially vulnerable.
When the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) passed in 1976, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ‘grandfathered’ in 62,000 existing chemicals without restrictions, and has since allowed 20,000 new chemicals onto the market without adequate safety data. In nearly 40 years, EPA has restricted some uses of only 5 chemicals and required testing of only 200 more.
Clearly, we need comprehensive chemical reform to overhaul this obsolete federal safety law. Maine and other states play a key role in fixing the broken system.
By an overwhelming bipartisan margin, the Maine Legislature passed the Kid Safe Products Act of 2008, one of the first and most far reaching of state chemical policies. The Maine law aims to reduce exposure of children and pregnant women to priority chemicals of high concern by replacing them with safer alternatives in consumer products.
Former Maine Governor John Baldacci strongly launched the Kid Safe Products Act, naming the hormone-disruptors BPA and NPEs as priority chemicals and proposing a ban on BPA in plastic baby bottles and sippy cups. Maine became the first state in the country to require product makers to report the use of these chemicals in toys, baby food packaging, personal care products, household paints and cleaners.
Unfortunately, our current Governor Paul LePage broke the Kid Safe Products Act. While denying the science and favoring the chemical industry, Gov. LePage attempted to gut the law and regulations. Having failed to roll back the public health protections on the books, he dismantled his agency’s program, vetoed strengthening legislation, and refused to implement the law as intended.
We need elected leaders who will use Kid Safe Products Act to protect us, not try to ignore the science and undermine efforts for a safe and healthy Maine. That’s why we’re working to strengthen the law, engaging a bipartisan group of legislators to place the health of Maine families ahead of out-of-state chemical industry profits.