STATEMENT - Children’s Health Still Under Attack by Governor
Statement from Environmental Health Strategy Center, February 17, 2011
Governor lobbies on behalf of out of state chemical, toy companies
Maine parents can gain small solace in the governor’s proposed amendment to LD 1 earlier this week not to include his proposed rollbacks of the Bisphenol A (BPA) rule and the Kid Safe Products Act. Based on the governor’s statements this week in the Kennebec Journal, Portland Press Herald and on Maine Public Radio, he has pledged to continue to advance the chemical industry attacks on the health of Maine children. The only change is that the debate has simply shifted to a different venue, the Environment and Natural Resource Committee (ENRC) of the Maine legislature.
While we are pleased that the governor’s amendment to LD 1 presented to the Joint Select Committee on Regulatory Reform and Fairness on February 14 did not contain proposals for repeal of the BPA rule or Kid Safe Products Act weakening, the governor’s LD 1 amendment does still contain troubling roll backs to the process for establishing public health protections and we remain strongly opposed to it. Many of the amendment’s proposals are costly, unfair and redundant, will create regulatory uncertainty and delay, will require new state resources, and will increase health care costs.
Maine citizens concerned with protecting the health of our children from toxic chemicals should not be complacent just because the venue has shifted - the governor made it clear that he is still wedded to the ill considered proposals requested by out of state chemical industry interests to repeal the BPA rule and gut the Kid Safe Products Act and has vowed to continue his attacks in the ENRC. These attacks come in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence that exposure to BPA in the womb, during infancy, or in childhood can set the stage for lifelong adverse health effects. More than 200 independent peer-reviewed scientific studies link widespread BPA exposure in babies to increased risk of brain damage, reproductive harm, and breast and prostate cancer.
The governor opposes LD 412 which would authorize final adoption of the BPA rule to phase out BPA in baby bottles, sippy cups and other reusable beverage containers and has already been provisionally adopted on a unanimous vote by the Board of Environmental Protection after extensive scientific review and public comment. This bill and two others addressing the Kid Safe Products Act will be heard by the ENRC. The Environmental Health Strategy Center supports public health bill LR 1756 from Senator Goodall which seeks to clarify the process for naming priority chemicals under the Kid Safe Products Act. We fully expect the governor to follow through with his pledge to support legislation to gut the Kid Safe Products Act including industry bill LR 1541 from Representative Hamper which we will oppose.
Not a single Maine company stood up in opposition to the Kid Safe Products Act in 2008 or against the BPA rules adopted in 2010. The exclusive opposition to these protective laws comes from the chemical industry including Dow Chemical who manufactures BPA and the national chemical manufacturers trade association and toy industry giants including Hasbro and Mattel which want to continue to sell toys to Maine parents without disclosing which ones contain BPA.
We’re confident that the Maine legislature, which approved the Kid Safe Products Act in 2008 by an overwhelming bipartisan margin, will stand up once again to protect the health of Maine’s children from unnecessary and dangerous chemicals in children’s products.