Protection against toxins

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As a mother, grandmother and breast cancer survivor living in Minot, it is imperative to me that everything possible is done to protect children and grandchildren from this disease.

There is strong evidence that many toxic chemicals in the environment lead to increased risk of cancer. Lawmakers must never consider taking the chance of exposing our children to such toxins.

In 2008, the Maine Legislature passed the Kid-Safe Products Act, an excellent bill setting forth a process for identifying the most harmful chemicals used in everyday items, such as toys and furniture, and a process for encouraging safer alternatives. Under the act, chemicals in products can only be regulated if the best available science demonstrates that they are hazardous and children are exposed to them.

Such chemicals cannot be phased out unless the Legislature votes to do so. This law provided the mechanism through which Maine’s Legislature was recently able to phase out bisphenol-A, a hormone disruptor and suspected carcinogen; however, the Kid-Safe Products Act was recently attacked by an attempt to amend it such that it would be rendered ineffective.

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Fortunately, bipartisan efforts involving stakeholders from the public health community, the business community and legislators resulted in a compromise that protects the act and identifies realistic ways to streamline its effectiveness.

Just as they voted to support the BPA phase-out rule, I trust that Sen. Garrett Mason and Rep. Jeffrey Timberlake and the rest of the Legislature will strongly support and quickly pass this compromise.

Charlene Allen, Minot

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