Mainers Express Outrage at Governor’s Plan
Contact: Carol Kelly (207) 210-0789
Moms, Businesses and Doctors Demand Action on Toxic Chemicals
Advocates Confront Governor’s Proposed Repeal of Maine’s Chemical Safety Laws and Recognize Republican and Democratic Legislators for Ongoing Leadership
AUGUSTA, MAINE — 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, shared a roadmap for legislators to follow in the months to come. He stated, “We think the Governor’s proposals take us in the wrong direction. 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.”
Fred Horch, owner of F.W. Horch Sustainable Goods & Supplies in Brunswick, offered a small business perspective. He remarked, “We can’t build a healthy economy on the backs of sick children. As a small business owner and father, I understand that we need reasonable regulation so we can sell products that are safe for our customers and their families. In today’s world, myriad new chemicals are invented and introduced every day. We need high standards backed up by rigorous science so we can be assured that what we’re selling is safe. Getting toxic chemicals out of our products so they’ll stay out of our bodies is just common sense — and the right way to do business in Maine.”
Prindiville added, “When kids are healthy, we all benefit. They do better in schools. They’re going to be better educated. They’re going to be more productive workers that can help make Maine’s communities stronger. And when we lower health costs, every Maine business will have the opportunity to prosper.”
The Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine is a coalition of over 40 public health, environmental, and public interest organizations dedicated to phasing out long-lived toxic chemicals that build up in the food web and in our bodies. www.cleanandhealthyme.org