Advocates confront LePage's proposed repeal of Maine’s chemical safety laws

By Ramona du Houx - January 27th, 2011 · 

Parents, business owners, doctors, and environmental health advocates converged on the State House on Thursday to express their outrage at the proposed repeal of laws that protect children, families, and businesses from toxic chemicals in everyday products.

“After a few short weeks in office Governor LePage wants to reverse the course of history – ignoring science in favor of political pandering to out of state chemical industries.” said Mike Belliveau, Executive Director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, a Maine-based public health organization. “Not only does the Governor want to throw out the baby with the bath water, he wants to poison the baby first!”

Megan Rice, a mother of two from the town of China, participated in last week’s environmental round-table with the Governor and expressed frustration with the administration’s recommendations that were released this week. She remarked, “I’m worried and I’m angry. Who doesn’t want to protect kids from toxic chemicals? And since not a single business testified against the Kid-Safe Products Act or the designation of BPA as a priority chemical, who is the Governor trying to protect with these repeals? It seems he’s prioritizing the chemical industry’s wish list over a healthy future for our children.”

Advocates drew a stark contrast between the chemical industry and the support that Maine legislators have shown for safer chemical laws. A group of Maine children helped recognize 74 sitting legislators (1 Independent, 32 Republicans, and 41 Democrats) for their support of children’s health through their vote for the popular 2008 Kid-Safe Products Act, which passed overwhelmingly in both the House (129-9) and the Senate (35-0). Each of the 74 lawmakers received a ‘BPA-Free’ plastic water bottle from coalition partners.

Matt Prindiville, Legislative Coordinator for the Natural Resources Council of Maine said, “Here in Maine, toxic chemicals cause at least $380 million in health-related costs every year. If we’re going to lower costs for families and businesses, we need to continue to get the worst-of-the-worst chemicals out of products children are exposed to very day, starting with replacing BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. We need to help parents protect their kids from exposure to pesticides when they’re playing soccer or having fun on school grounds. And we need to create more partnerships with businesses to get dangerous chemicals out of the waste stream and our community landfills.”