In the News
Maine’s DEP needs to act on phthalates information to help protect innocent children
Maine Insights, June 30, 2014
In Portland’s Monument Square, citizens were given a chance to guess which common household products contain hormone-disrupting chemicals called phthalates.
Chemistry test involves household items
WMTW, June 20, 2014
A quiz for passers-by in Portland involved questions about the presence of a potentially harmful substance in common items on Thursday. Phthalates are used in soft, vinyl plastics and can alter hormones.
$100K awarded to promote bio-based manufacturing
Mainebiz, June 6, 2014
This week, the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation awarded a $100,000 grant for an innovative project to promote biobased manufacturing in Maine, which aims to convert sustainably harvested wood chips and agricultural waste into value-added renewable chemicals, biobased plastics, and advanced biofuels.
Group Wants Public Hearing on Plastics Chemicals
MPBN, May 30, 2014
The Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine today mailed the DEP 18 requests for a public hearing on the chemicals, known as phthalates.
Group calls on state to regulate toxic chemicals found in hundreds of plastic household products
Bangor Daily News, May 14, 2014
AUGUSTA, Maine — A group of doctors, parents and other activists is demanding the state require manufacturers to report the presence of potentially dangerous chemicals in products sold in Maine.
Public Health Advocates Ask DEP Businesses to Report Use of Chemical
WABI, May 14, 2014
Public health advocates protested in Augusta, demanding the Maine DEP force plastic products makers to disclose the use of certain chemicals found in products sold in Maine. It’s a group of chemicals called phthalates that has the rally goers upset. Phthalates are chemicals used in ordinary household plastics, like vinyl flooring, plastic clothes, and personal care products.
Citizens concerned about phthalates deliver message to DEP
WCSH, May 14, 2014
A group of concerned citizens gathered at the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s headquarters to deliver a message. “We are here today because phthalates are dangerous chemicals, but a few simple actions could make a tremendous difference in reducing harm,” stated Megan Rice, a mother of two young daughters.
Schneiderman Opposes Bill That Fails to Protect Citizens from Toxic Chemicals
Long Island Exchange, April 17, 2014
A coalition of attorneys general from 13 states sent a letter to the leaders of the U.S. House of Representative Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, objecting to proposed legislation that would amend the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA) by stripping states of the power to protect their citizens’ health. EHSC’s ED Mike Belliveau is quoted.
Walgreen’s urged to remove products with harmful chemical
WGME, April 16, 2014
Some Maine parents and other concerned citizens are asking Walgreen’s to take some products off their shelves. They issued a “call to action” outside several Walgreen’s in Maine on Wednesday, hoping to increase awareness about what they say are the dangers of phthalates.
Consumers Push for Product Change in Drug Stores
WABI, April 16, 2014
Test results showing high levels of toxic chemicals in some drug store products have prompted a push for change. The ‘Mind the Store’ campaign, which is part of a national movement, picked up in Bangor.Those involved are calling on drug stores like Walgreens to demand safer products from their manufacturers.
Maine residents seek state help on arsenic in well water
Portland Press Herald, April 14, 2014
A five-year study in Maine that looked at 272 students in grades 3 through 5 found that exposure to even low levels of arsenic could be linked to lower intelligence levels — a difference of as much as five or six points on an IQ test.
Market outlook: US faces Olympian task on TSCA reform
ICIS.com, April 4, 2014
If recent testimony in the US House of Representatives is any guide, Congress, industry, environmentalists and unions face a struggle equal to any in Greek mythology to find common ground in reforming federal controls for chemicals in commerce. EHSC’s Mike Belliveau is quoted.
Hannah Pingree on 207
207 , March 27, 2014
Toxic chemicals meant to slow fires in your house have leached into the bodies of nearly all Americans. The effects of these toxins can be deadly. Former Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives Hannah Pingree discusses these issues, the film “Toxic Hot Seat,” and more.
Firefighters call for tighter restrictions on toxins in household products
WCSH, March 26, 2014
Nearly 10% of Portland’s professional firefighters have cancer; that’s according to Dr. Susan Shaw, a scientist who studies the link between toxins and cancer in firefighters.
Maine Health Advocates Take Aim at ‘Phthalates’
Maine Public Broadcasting Network, March 18, 2014
A group called “The Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine” says Mainers’ bodies are polluted with phthalates, a group of hormone-disrupting chemicals. A report released today says a recent biomonitoring study of 25 Maine people found phthalates in every participant.
Tests of 25 Mainers find high levels of chemicals used in plastics
Bangor Daily News, March 18, 2014
The test results are in for 25 Mainers who recently volunteered to test their bodies for a battery of chemicals commonly found in consumer products. Every participant, from current and former lawmakers to mothers and an electrician, tested positive for phthalates, a group of chemicals used to soften plastics that studies have linked to serious health problems.
Environmental Health Strategy’s Belliveau discusses latest House TSCA reform draft
E&E TV, March 12, 2014
As the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Environment and the Economy subpanel considers a new draft chemical safety reform bill this week, is Congress any closer to revising the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act? EHSC’s Mike Belliveau discusses his testimony this week before the House subcommittee and explains why he believes the new draft cannot be considered a serious TSCA reform proposal.
Alfond denies Medicaid votes-chemical bill trade
Portland Press Herald, December 2, 2013
Gov. Paul LePage has been taking a beating from Democrats and advocates of the Kids Safe Products Act, a law that identifies and tries to phase out harmful chemicals from consumer products.
Maine lawmakers volunteer for chemical screenings
Bangor Daily News, November 14, 2013
A group of seven current and former Maine lawmakers have joined a list of two dozen Mainers volunteering their bodies to be tested for a battery of “hormone-disrupting chemicals.”
Maine moms, activists rally for changes in chemical safety bill
Portland Press Herald, October 30, 2013
A group of Maine mothers and activists joined others from around the country Tuesday to lobby Congress to change a chemical safety bill that they say would undermine consumer protection laws enacted in Maine and other states.
Maine moms lobby for update to toxic substance law
Bangor Daily News, October 29, 2013
Bettyann Sheats said when her daughter was younger, they used to enjoy making crafts together. The Auburn woman said she later was shocked to learn that some of the metal charms they used to make beaded bracelets contained lead, and others may have contained cadmium, both toxic metals.
Old Town company poised to take lead in conversion of wood to sugars
Bangor Daily News, October 17, 2013
Old Town Fuel and Fiber has the opportunity to be a pioneer in processing wood into sugars to make everyday products including plastics and ethanol, according to industry experts.
The Sustainable Bioplastics Council of Maine held a forum Thursday at the mill focused on growing bio-based manufacturing jobs. The University of Maine’s Forest BioProducts Research Institute also took part in the forum, which was attended by about 75 industry members and educators.
Belgrade mother, Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine protest LePage BPA veto
Bangor Daily News, July 31, 2013
Belgrade mother Megan Rice said she was very upset when she found out that the baby food she was feeding her two infant daughters came in packaging that contained bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA.
Moms Hope BPA Fight Leads to New Law
Portland Press Herald, April 7, 2013
Megan Rice remembers taking away her daughter’s sippy cuo when she learned that the chemical BPA was present in some of the containers. She sought out information about chemicals in canned food and toys.
Board approves phase out of BPA from baby food
WABI Channel 5, January 17, 2013
EHSC’s Steve Taylor thanks the Maine Board of Environmental Protection for following the science and protecing Maine babies from toxic BPA in their food.
Maine board backs ban on BPA in baby-food packaging
Portland Press Herald, January 17, 2013
AUGUSTA — Maine’s Board of Environmental Protection took a preliminary vote Thursday to ban sales of baby food and infant formula in containers made with the chemical additive bisphenol-A. If approved in a final vote and adopted by the Legislature, the initiative will make Maine the third state to impose BPA bans that exceed federal standards.
“We’re thrilled that the board decided to take action and get BPA out of infant formula and baby food,” said Amanda Sears, associate director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, part of an alliance that supported the petition. “That’s absolutely the right decision.”
No Time to Hide Behind the FDA
Portland Press Herald, January 16, 2013
A new opinion editorial by scientists at the Natural Resources Defense Council explains why Maine can’t wait for the federal government to protect our children from BPA in their food. “Maine has already made history – rejecting reliance on Washington and the scare campaigns of the chemical industry – crafting sensible solutions for itself. It should continue that sound and bipartisan approach by getting BPA out of baby food packaging.”
Protect our children from toxic BPA
Lewiston Sun Journal, January 16, 2013
Three women from Lewiston who are educators and public health experts ask the Maine Board of Environmental Protection to follow the science on BPA. “We urge BEP to follow the science and stand up for the children of Maine. No child should face a lifelong disability because they were exposed to BPA at the dinner table.”
BPA ban should be extended to keep children safe
Biddeford Journal Tribune, January 16, 2013
The Biddeford Journal Tribune supports BPA-Free Baby Food.
“It’s tough to defend a recommendation favoring continued use of a harmful product in baby food packaging. And yet, that’s what the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, and the LePage administration, are doing in their recommendation in favor of allowing continued use of bisphenol-A (BPA) in such packaging.”
“Why, if this chemical is unfit for baby bottles and sippy cups, is it OK for use in food packaging for babies and toddlers? It’s a puzzling conclusion for the DEP to have reached, and it just doesn’t seem right.”
State should get BPA out of baby food jars
Portland Press Herald, January 15, 2013
The Press Herald’s editors weigh in about the proposal to get BPA out of baby food. “Maine took an important step to protect children by phasing out the use of plastic baby bottles and sippy cups containing the chemical bisphenol-A. The Board of Environmental Protection should go a step further this week and vote to eliminate the chemical from baby food containers as well.”
Moms protest LePage position on BPA
Portland Press Herald, January 9, 2013
AUGUSTA - A group of mothers gathered at the State House on Wednesday to protest a LePage administration recommendation that they say doesn’t go far enough to protect young children from the chemical bisphenol-A. “It’s an ongoing frustration with the governor,” said Megan Rice, a mother of two from China. “Every time we think we’re making progress, he takes a step back.”
Maine moms versus Gov. LePage on BPA in baby products
WCSH Channel 6, January 9, 2013
AUGUSTA — Maine moms are petitioning the governor to change his mind about bisphenol-A, or BPA in certain products. A group gathered at the capitol Wednesday to march to the governor’s office with jars of baby food. They say the plastic in the metal cap contains BPA, and they’ve created a citizens initiative to ban the use of it in Maine.
Maine moms push for ban of BPA chemicals
WGME Channel 13, January 9, 2013
AUGUSTA — The push to ban BPA chemicals in baby food packaging makes its way back to the state house. About a dozen mothers protested at the capital. They want the chemical banned altogether. The issue is currently under review by the Maine Board of Environmental Protection, which just last week says it supports a ban for BPA in infant formula but not one for baby food packaging.
LePage should do what moms say: ban BPA
David Farmer (Inside Maine Politics), January 9, 2013
It’s one thing for Gov. Paul LePage to try to tempt Democrats into a game of political nah-nah-nah-boo-boo, but it’s something much more politically dangerous when the governor draws the ire of the stroller brigade. No force is more powerful in politics than moms.
DEP recommends against extending BPA ban to baby, toddler food containers
Bangor Daily News, January 3, 2013
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Environmental Protection recommends the state extend its ban on the chemical bisphenol A to packaging used for infant formula, but stopped short Thursday of suggesting the chemical be banned from baby and toddler food containers, a move environmental activists have been advocating.
Safer alternatives to BPA are available, study finds
Kennebec Journal, December 20, 2012
AUGUSTA — There is no chemical substitute for the bisphenol-A that is used in infant formula cans and baby food lids. However, companies can use a different type of packaging to keep the food safe, a report from a New York environmental consulting firm has concluded.
Environmental panel looks at alternatives if BPA ban extended
Bangor Daily News, December 20, 2012
AUGUSTA — A state environmental board Thursday started weighing whether manufacturers would have access to affordable packaging alternatives if Maine extended its ban on the chemical bisphenol A to packaging used for infant formula and baby and toddler foods.
Mercury in Seafood More Harmful than Believed
Portland Press Herald, December 4, 2012
A new report by the Biodiversity Research Institute in Gorham evaluates the amount of mercury in fish species around the world and suggests that levels of the toxin previously deemed safe are probably not. “As we learn more about human exposure to chemicals … it is not uncommon for guidelines to be lowered,” said Amanda Sears, associate director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center. Acceptable lead levels, for example, have been lowered several times over the past century as more became known about its potential harm.
What’s in your Couch?
WGME 13, November 28, 2012
A new national scientific study found toxic flame retardant chemicals in couches across the country, including two couches tested from Maine. Researchers found that phased out chemicals like Penta-BDE have simply been replaced with different equally toxic chemicals, which do little or nothing to prevent fires.
Toxic Flame Retardants Found in Maine Couches
Bangor Daily News, November 28, 2012
Jenny Rottmann is about to have her first child. She just found out that the new couch she’s been sitting on for the past nine months contains an unnecessary, toxic flame retardant chemical that doesn’t even help prevent fires. “It’s something that I’d be concerned about no matter what, but finding this out a couple days before I’m about to deliver a baby really is infuriating to me,” she said. A national scientific study tested Rottmann’s couch and others from around the country, finding that almost all contain toxic or untested chemicals.
Mothers, scientists, physicians take on lobbyists in Maine BPA battle
Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, September 7, 2012
AUGUSTA — Jessica Graham, a mother of two from Waterville, said Thursday that parents shouldn’t have to spend a lot of time in the grocery aisle trying to determine whether the foods they are buying for their children may contain a chemical called bisphenol-A. “Even though I have spent hours researching it, it is very difficult to know,” she said. “No child should be exposed to toxic chemicals like BPA at the dinner table, and no parent should have to worry that the food they give their children is unsafe.”
Push in Maine to ban BPA in food
NECN, the Morning Show, September 7, 2012
(August, Maine) - Maine has already banned the controversial chemical BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups, but now environmental groups are asking to get it out of food, too. Many of them spoke at a crowded hearing in Augusta Thursday. Three-year-old Josiah isn’t afraid of the microphone but his mom Tracey Gregoire says many other simple things can terrify her son and leave him frantic.
Mainers Weigh in on Proposal to Extend BPA Ban
Maine Public Radio, September 6, 2012
The Maine Board of Environmental Protection is being asked to extend a ban on the chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA, from baby and toddler food in Maine. Parents, health adovcates and physicians say it’s a toxic threat to children. But as Patty Wight reports, industry representatives spoke in opposition at a public hearing today, saying that a ban is unnecessary and could pose a burden for them.
Environmental groups call for expanded ban on BPA
Bangor Daily News, September 6, 2012
AUGUSTA, Maine — A coalition of environmental and consumer safety groups called on state regulators Thursday to extend Maine’s ban on the chemical bisphenol A to packaging used for infant formula and baby and toddler foods, saying the state should do whatever it can to prevent children’s exposure to the chemical, commonly known as BPA.
Expanded Ban On BPA Being Debated In Augusta
WGME 13, September 6, 2012
Doctors, advocates, scientists, concerned parents and grandparents spoke for and against expanding a ban on BPA to include food products marketed to kids. The public will have a few more weeks to weigh in with the Maine Bureau of Environmental Protection before they make a decision on the expanded ban and pass it along to the state legislature.
Public hearing on expanding BPA ban to baby food, containers
WLBZ 2 Bangor and WCSH 6 Portland, September 6, 2012
AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — A year ago, the FDA approved a ban on the chemical BPA in items such as baby bottles and sippy cups, and some Maine mothers and activitists want to see that ban expand. Mothers, doctors, and members of the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine are petitioning the Board of Environmental Protection to expand the ban to apply to baby and toddler food and its packaging.
Public Weighs In On BPA Ban Expansion
WABI-TV5, September 6, 2012
Augusta - It’s the publics turn to weigh in on the battle to get a potentially harmful chemical out of children’s food packaging. The chemical in question is Bisphenol-A more commonly known as BPA, a chemical put in the lining of canned foods that is supposed to protect the metal.
Big Chem, Big Harm?
New York Times, Op-Ed by Nicholas D. Kristof, August 26, 2012
New research is demonstrating that some common chemicals all around us may be even more harmful than previously thought. It seems that they may damage us in ways that are transmitted generation after generation, imperiling not only us but also our descendants. Yet following the script of Big Tobacco a generation ago, Big Chem has, so far, blocked any serious regulation of these endocrine disruptors.
Vast majority of Americans have BPA in their bodies
Bangor Daily News, Op-Ed by Laura Vandenberg, August 5, 2012
Maine’s Board of Environmental Protection is considering a phase-out of the chemical BPA in infant formula, and foods for babies and toddlers. Many parents become aware of BPA when they start shopping for a new baby and are warned by friends to buy only bottles marked BPA-free. Yet what few people realize is that the vast majority of Americans have BPA in their bodies at any one time, and exposures continue to occur throughout the day, every day.
Cleaning out the inbox. Chemical testing and a life saved
Sun Journal, Editorial, July 30, 2012
Our hat is off to U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe and her colleagues on the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee for finally advancing a bill that will better help protect U.S. consumers from toxic chemicals in the products they buy.
Committee sends chemical safety measure on to full Senate vote
Bangor Daily News, July 26, 2012
A U.S. Senate committee on Wednesday signed off on the first major update to the nation’s chemical safety laws since 1976, referring the measure to the full Senate on a party-line vote.
Hannah Pingree to U.S. senators: Chemical safety reform needed now
Bangor Daily News , July 25, 2012
The federal government’s primary law regulating chemicals in household products is in desperate need of an update, Maine’s former House speaker told a congressional committee in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.
Chemical companies are grilled about flame retardants
Chicago Tribune, July 25, 2012
“I don’t trust these companies to tell the truth about their chemicals,” said Hannah Pingree, a former speaker of the Maine House of Representatives who testified about her battles with an industry front group during debates about banning certain flame retardants in her state. “I don’t think the American public or U.S. senators should either.”
Hannah Pingree urges tougher toxin laws
Portland Press Herald , July 25, 2012
Former Maine House Speaker Hannah Pingree testified in Congress on Tuesday in support of stronger federal chemical safety laws that advocates say are needed to protect consumers — and especially children — from potentially dangerous chemicals in products they use every day.
Senate panel votes to tighten oversight of chemicals
Chicago Tribune, July 25, 2012
Chemical companies would have to provide more health and safety information about their products and regulators would have more authority to force harmful substances off the market under legislation approved along party lines Wednesday by a Senate committee.
Senate committee votes to overhaul chemical safety law
Portland Press Herald , July 25, 2012
A Senate committee voted Wednesday to overhaul a federal chemical safety law that critics claim is ineffective at keeping dangerous substances out of consumer products.
BPA-free baby food packaging? Not as extreme as you think
Bangor Daily News, Editorial, July 23, 2012
As state officials decide whether to extend the ban of bisphenol A, known as BPA, to food packaging for babies and toddlers, they should keep in mind that the debate is not as polemical as some may make it out to be. That’s because Maine consumers and stores have largely demonstrated through their purchasing power their preference for BPA-free products.
Maine Voices: For kids’ sake, expand state’s ban on BPA
Portland Press Herald, Op-Ed by Dr. Rosamund Davis , July 22, 2012
What are you feeding your children? Chances are good that if it comes out of a can, jar or pouch, you are feeding them bisphenol-A — commonly known as BPA. BPA is a biologically active chemical used in numerous plastics, including those used in food and beverage containers, can liners, toys and a variety of household objects. Recent calculations estimate production at more than 8 billion pounds of BPA every year worldwide.
State environmental protection board votes for tougher limits on BPA advance
Kennebec Journal , July 20, 2012
On Thursday, the Board of Environmental Protection voted to hold a public hearing, tentatively scheduled for Sept. 6, to hear from advocates and opponents of the proposed rules. “BPA is a toxic chemical that harms children,” said Steve Taylor, the center’s program director. “Now it’s clear other alternatives are widely available. It’s time to take the next step.”
Board of Environmental Protection sets date for public hearing on BPA ban
Maine Public Radio, July 19, 2012
A group of mothers submitted a petition signed by more than 800 Mainers to the BEP in June calling on the board to ban BPA from use in baby and toddler food packaging. They also submitted more than 1,000 pages of scientific studies and information about readily available, safer alternatives to BPA, according to Steve Taylor of the Environmental Health and Strategy Center and spokesman for the petitioners. Taylor said after the BEP meeting that evidence of the dangers of BPA are now “conclusive,” and he argued that the state should continue to take actions to ensure that young Mainers aren’t exposed to the substance.
Board of Environmental Protection sets date for public hearing on BPA ban
Bangor Daily News, July 19, 2012
The Board of Environmental Protection on Thursday scheduled a Sept. 6 public hearing on a rule change called for in a citizens petition that would ban the use of bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, in food packaging intended for toddlers and infants. The plastic additive, which is found in hundreds of products ranging from water bottles to CDs to receipt paper, is an endocrine disruptor that some studies have linked to cancer, learning disabilities, infertility and other health problems.
Strong Support for a Push to Expand the Ban on BPA in Maine
WGME 13, July 19, 2012
Bisphenol A is already banned in sippy cups and baby bottles in Maine. But now, the Board of Environmental Protection has accepted a citizen’s petition to look at banning BPA in the packaging of baby formula and toddler food.
Real Maine ingenuity lost in the din of fireworks
Portland Press Herald, Op-Ed by Bill Nemitz, July 18, 2012
In Augusta, meanwhile, the silence has been deafening. (Much as it was last month when LePage vetoed a $20 million research and development bond and the Legislature, reversing its previous course, failed to override the governor and send the measure to the voters this fall.)
Environmental regulation especially important for Mainers
Bangor Daily News, Op-Ed By Bob Duchesne, July 16, 2012
Maine is downwind. The state is often called “the tailpipe of the nation” because prevailing winds carry every other state’s pollutants our way. So if Maine has been more proactive in trying to keep harmful chemicals out of the bodies of its residents, it’s because Mainers are at much greater risk of exposure than residents of other states. Maine has some of the highest asthma rates in the country. A landmark 2006 study tested blood samples from Mainers. On average, each participant had measurable levels of 36 toxic chemicals in their bodies.
25 senators offer bipartisan boost to Lautenberg reform bill
E & E News, July 9, 2012
Twenty-five senators from both parties today lent a measure of momentum to Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s (D-N.J.) long-running push for reform of federal toxics law, urging U.S. EPA to advance two proposed new rules for flame retardants while lamenting the lack of teeth in the agency’s power to restrict chemicals linked to human health problems.
Stronger action urged after Maine DEP releases list of 49 chemicals dangerous to children
Bangor Daily News , July 6, 2012
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has published a list of 49 chemicals whose everyday use it deems dangerous to the health of Maine children, but an environmental policy group is urging stronger action.
Moms turn in BPA petition
Kennebec Journal, June 22, 2012
AUGUSTA — More than a dozen mothers turned in signatures Thursday to try to compel the state Board of Environmental Protection to ban the chemical bisphenol-A from baby and toddler food packaging.”No child should be exposed to the hormone havoc of BPA at the dinner table,” said Annie Colaluca, a mother of three from Waterville.
Moms Turn in Signatures to Extend Chemical Ban
Morning Sentinel, June 21, 2012
AUGUSTA — More than a dozen mothers turned in signatures today to try to compel the state Board of Environmental Protection to ban the chemical bisphenol-A from baby and toddler food packaging. “No child should be exposed to the hormone havoc of BPA at the dinner table,” said Annie Colaluca, a mother of three from Waterville.
Wide-ranging Support for Banning BPA From Baby and Toddler Products
MPBN, June 21, 2012
A coalition of mothers, fathers, pediatricians and environmental groups is calling on the Maine Board of Environmental Protection to require the phasing out the toxic chemical Bisphenol A from infant formula, baby and toddler food packaging. The group presented more than 800 petitions in support of the action. Members said there are already safer alternatives available on the market.
Maine Moms Ask Environmental Board To Strengthen BPA LAW
WABI-TV5, June 21, 2012
Augusta - Environmental advocates have been trying for two years to convince the state to ban the chemical Bisphenol-A or BPA from all kids products in Maine. Thursday, more than a dozen mothers from all over the state turned in a petition to the Department of Environmental Protection asking for its blessing to expand Maine’s ban on BPA.
Bangor Daily News, LTE by Mike Belliveau, June 20, 2012
Maine missed a golden opportunity to develop new high-tech jobs in agriculture, forestry, boat building, fisheries, biomedicine and other industries. The Legislature first passed the $20 million research and development bond with strong bipartisan and business support. With a proven 10-to-one return on investment, R&D funding creates new technologies and jobs.
Flame Retardant Industry Accused By Legislators Of ‘Lies’ About Lobbying Efforts
Huffington Post, June 8, 2012
The television advertisement opened with a blazing fire and the words “Dangerous” and “Deadly” across the screen in bold letters. A narrator soon adds a more detailed warning: “In a matter of minutes, fire can destroy a home, a business, a family.” Five years ago, as a bill came under consideration in the Maine House of Representatives to ban the use of a common flame retardant, spurred by growing knowledge of its health risks, the chemical industry rolled out opposing spots on local television and radio stations, as well as full-page color ads in newspapers.
Maine women take concerns about chemicals to D.C.
The Forecaster, June 5, 2012
PORTLAND — Concern over chemicals in products and foods prompted about two dozen Maine women to get on a bus recently and take their cause to Washington, D.C. The bus left Maine the morning of May 21, collecting other women along the way in other New England states to join a “Safe Chemicals Brigade” on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol the next morning. They rallied to support the Safe Chemicals Act, which the U.S. Senate is considering.
Maine Mothers Deliver Message To Maine Senators In Washington
WABI-TV5, June 1, 2012
Waterville - A group of Maine mothers took a bus trip to Washington D.C. to ask lawmakers to ban some of the harmful chemicals in their kids products. The group of women from all over the state delivered a petition to Senators Snowe and Collins urging them to support the Safe Chemicals Act. The women say that toxic chemicals don’t belong in products aimed at children.
Legislators should override LePage veto of R&D bond bill
Bangor Daily News, Editorial, May 30, 2012
Maine should borrow money if it helps businesses and nonprofit groups create new technology, grow jobs and jump-start more development. Research and development bond money — awarded competitively and with specific outcome guidelines — has shown it does just that.
Maine activists rally for tougher chemical standards
Portland Press Herald, May 29, 2012
A group of Maine mothers and activists took a bus to Washington, D.C., last week to join demonstrations urging tougher federal standards on commercial chemicals. Maine had the largest delegation there out of 31 delegations from states, “and probably the loudest,” said Ginger Jordan-Hillier, of Monmouth. “We had the best signs, too.”
Maine mom heads to DC to demand safer products for her daughters
Bangor Daily News - blog by Megan Rice, May 25, 2012
On Monday, May 21, two dozen Maine women boarded a bus bound for Washington, D.C., to take on the chemical industry. We joined hundreds of others from across the country for a “National Stroller Brigade” to raise awareness about the need for chemical safety reform. We spoke directly to Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to ask them to support the Safe Chemicals Act — a long overdue update to the federal Toxic Substances Control Act, or TSCA, which has failed miserably at keeping us informed and safe from the harm of toxic chemicals in our everyday products.
Maine moms head to D.C. to fight toxic chemicals
Coastal Journal, May 24, 2012
On May 21, a bus filled with Maine women departed on a trip to Washington D.C. to meet with senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins seeking support for the Safe Chemicals Act. The women ranged in age from college students to grandmothers, but all shared a mission: To fight the use of toxic chemicals in everyday products. The trip was sponsored by the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine, a coalition of Maine-based organizations that began a campaign to phase out the toxic chemicals in products that they say build up in the food supply and people’s bodies.
‘Stroller Brigade’ rolls out for Safe Chemicals Act
Los Angeles Times, National, May 23, 2012
WASHINGTON — Moms, a few dads and some children gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday to urge Congress to strengthen the federal government’s powers to regulate harmful chemicals. The group of almost a hundred activists, which included registered nurses and cancer survivors, came from across the country to support the Safe Chemicals Act, which if passed by Congress would create a new process to monitor toxic chemicals used in consumer products.
Maine Moms meet with congressional delegation to push for toxic chemical reform
Bangor Daily News - blog by Megan Rice, May 23, 2012
We immediately left the Stroller Brigade and headed over to our first meeting of the day. We were scheduled to meet with staff from Representatives Pingree and Michaud’s offices. Along the way we bumped into Senator Frank Lautenberg, the sponsor of the Safe Chemicals Act and all around hero of the day. He stopped, posed for pictures and spoke with us for several minutes. He thanked us for our dedication to the issue and urged us to work hard to gain Senators Snowe and Collins’s support for the Safe Chemicals Act. We promised we would and were thrilled to have had the chance to speak and thank Senator Lautenberg personally.
Maine moms pressing for safer chemicals
Portland Press Herald- Associated Press, May 22, 2012
Two dozen Maine moms are joining a demonstration in Washington, D.C., to call for an update of federal law governing chemicals in every day products. The Mainers are joining a “stroller brigade’ on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday. They’re bringing with them 2,572 petitions and a resolution signed by state Senate President Kevin Raye and House Minority Leader Emily Cain that call on Congress to modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.
Stroller Brigade in Support of Safe Chemicals Act
CNN, May 22, 2012
On May 22, 2012, U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) joined hundreds of concerned mothers from across the country who are calling on Congress to pass his “Safe Chemicals Act.”
Stroller Brigade Rolls to Capitol For Toxic Chemical Reform
ABC, blog, May 22, 2012
Moms and cancer survivors parked their strollers in front of the U.S. Capitol today as part of the “Stroller Brigade” to demand that Congress take action to help regulate toxic chemicals that are found in everyday items used by children. The group called on Congress to pass N.J. Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s Safe Chemicals Act, a bill to overhaul old laws governing toxic chemicals.
Stroller brigade descends on Washington
ABC news, national, May 22, 2012
A vocal group of mothers converged on the nation’s capitol on Tuesday from across their country, bonded by their concerns for their children’s safety. As part of the so-called “Stroller Brigade,” mothers like Hanna Pingree took their message to Capitol Hill to lobby for more scrutiny of chemicals in baby products.
Maine Moms join the Stroller Brigade
Bangor Daily News - blog by Megan Rice, May 22, 2012
It has been a busy day so far. We gathered this morning excited to join the National Safer Chemicals Lobby Day and Stroller Brigade. Maine proudly brought the largest contingent of advocates and we made quite an entrance with our rally cries. All eyes and news cameras were on us as we joined a few hundred advocates just below the Capitol building. We had signs, matching t-shirts and were ready to march!
Maine moms head to DC for tougher toxics laws
Bangor Daily News - blog by Megan Rice, May 21, 2012
At 6:30 this morning, 22 Maine women boarded a bus bound for Washington, D.C. with one common goal – reform our badly broken federal chemical safety system.
Maine Voices: Research and development investment will produce jobs
Portland Press Herald, Op-Ed by Mike Belliveau and Catherine Renault, May 15, 2012
In the town of Boothbay, a startup manufacturer turns plastic fibers made from plants into food packaging and medical supplies. In South Portland, a new manufacturing plant recently opened to serve a worldwide market of horticulturalists seeking increased efficiency in their greenhouses. In Old Town, a struggling pulp mill has new life, thanks to cutting-edge technology that converts wood chips into sugars, which are nature’s chemical building blocks. The common thread? These innovators have all leveraged government research and development funding, and the investments are paying off.
Mainers join national effort to remove chemicals from products
WLBZ 2 News Bangor and WCSH 6 News Portland, May 15, 2012
AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Maine moms and legislators are teaming up to fight against toxins in household products on a national level. In 2008, the legislature passed the Safe Kids Act in Maine which helps control substances like Bisphenol-A in plastics, which studies have shown can be harmful, especially to babies.Nationally, though, the Toxic Substances Control Act hasn’t been ammended in over 3 decades.
Maine mothers rally against chemicals in children’ products
Bangor Daily News, May 15, 2012
AUGUSTA, Maine — When Megan Rice learned that her daughter’s plastic sippy cups contained an industrial chemical called bisphenol-A, she tossed them in the trash. Now, five years later, Rice says she and many other moms struggle to buy food, toys and other products free of potentially dangerous chemicals. Rice, a 36-year-old mother of two from the town of China, will board a bus headed to Washington, D.C., next week to urge Congress to adopt tougher regulations for toxic chemicals in consumer goods.
Keep harmful chemicals away from children
Bangor Daily News, Op-Ed By Dr. Janice L. Pelletier and Dr. Steve Feder, May 14, 2012
Growing up in Maine, I can remember the rotten egg smell in my nose and the burning pain in my lungs when the local mill released sulfur dioxide waste into the wind. When outside, it sometimes felt like acid rain was inside my respiratory tree. Because that particular chemical is now known to be an asthma trigger and a carcinogen, it makes me wonder what harm occurred when I was young and why I now wheeze when I run. Pediatricians know that children’s bodies are uniquely vulnerable to chemical harm. Why is that so?
Bioplastics cluster gets a toehold
Maine Biz, May 7, 2012
In a state with a strong agricultural and forest products legacy, the prospect of creating bioplastics and fuel from potatoes and wood chips was attractive. That interest, coupled with a growing demand to reduce dependence on petroleum and projections of 20% to 40% annual increases in bioplastics market demand, was too intriguing an opportunity to miss.
State House Notebook:Toxic Chemicals
By Susan M. Cover, State House Bureau, April 9, 2012
Environmentalists hope that a unanimous, bipartisan vote in support of a resolution to urge Congress to update the federal Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 will spur Maine’s Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to come on board.
Snowe, Collins should support new chemical act
Journal Tribune - Editorial, March 31, 2012
We feel fairly safe in America today, knowing that federal regulators oversee our food, medication, modes of transportation and even the safety of our workplaces. Lots of regulations are in place to ensure our safety nearly every step of the way, and most of us assume that the products we’re sold in our own country are safe. But that’s apparently not the case. From the beauty products we use on our bodies to the carpets on which we walk, we’re surrounded by chemicals that are negatively impacting our health – and the feds aren’t vetting them all.
Our View: Senators should back toxic regulation update: It’s time for a federal response to the chemical products problem addressed in Maine law.
Portland Press Herald, Editorial Board, March 30, 2012
A 1970s law based on 1960s science is all we have to protect us from toxic substances in our environment. Regulations that envisioned smokestacks and drainpipes as the prime sources of dangerous chemicals should be updated to look out for toys, baby shampoo and a wide variety of consumer products as the vehicles for dangerous chemicals to enter our bodies and harm us. Such a bill is now before Congress and Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins should sign on as co-sponsors.
Maine Voices: Time to take more steps to shield consumers from toxic chemicals
Portland Press Herald, Op-Ed by Dr. Tamas Peredy, March 12, 2012
PORTLAND - As the only practicing medical toxicologist in the state, I am well aware of the real hazards that Maine children and adults face from toxic chemicals. Every day, I see patients who have been exposed to dangerous levels of chemicals in their homes, workplaces and shared public places. Unfortunately, the federal law that is supposed to regulate chemicals in everyday products is broken and needs to be updated. I am urging Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to support the meaningful improvements put forth in the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 (S. 847).
Natural Foodie: Homemade baby food offers nutrition, safety, savings
Avery Yale Kamila , February 29, 2012
Two weeks ago, a coalition of public health and environmental organizations in Maine released a study of BPA in baby food. It concluded that of 12 jars of baby food sampled, 11 contained BPA. BPA, or bisphenol-A, is a chemical used in plastics that has been linked to learning disabilities, obesity, cancer, early puberty in girls and male infertility.
BPA ban should be extended to baby food containers
Journal Tribune - Editorial, February 24, 2012
The Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine launched a new attack on children’s products containing bisphenol-A last week. The group, along with Mainely Moms and Dads, announced plans to petition the Maine Board of Environmental Protection to ban BPA in containers of infant formula and baby or toddler food, according to a report in the Bangor Daily News. Maine has already banned BPA in reusable beverage containers sold in the state, which goes into effect starting Jan. 1, 2013.
Tests find BPA in baby food in Maine; group launches effort to further curb chemical’s use
Bangor Daily News, February 14, 2012
AUGUSTA, Maine — A coalition of Maine health and environmental groups is preparing to launch the next campaign against bisphenol-A, or BPA, on the heels of tests that found the controversial chemical additive in 11 of 12 samples of baby food in the state.
Environmental Group Continues Fight Against BPA
WABI TV5, February 14, 2012
Augusta - Maine environmental-health activists say they’ll press state officials to consider a new rule eliminating the chemical bisphenol-A from containers of infant formula, baby and toddler foods.
Maine Groups Press for BPA Ban After Chemical Found in Baby and Toddler Food
MPBN, February 14, 2012
Since January, baby bottles, sippy cups and reusable food containers in Maine have been free of the chemical hardening agent Bisphenol-A. Now, environmental health activists want the state to eliminate BPA from baby and toddler foods. The move comes after tests conducted by The Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine and Mainely Moms and Dads also found BPA in those products.
Maine manufacturers forced to report use of BPA and other toxic chemicals in toys, paints
Bangor Daily News, December 14, 2011
Environmental health advocates on Tuesday called for congressional action to outlaw certain chemicals after the release of a report identifying more than 650 brand name products that contain the toxins.
Maine Report Lists Hundreds of Products Containing Toxic Chemicals
MPBN, December 13, 2011
Maine is among just a handful of states that require manufacturers to report the use of certain chemicals in their products. It also has the earliest deadine for companies to report. This week the results are in, and more than 650 products are on the list. Business representatives and state regulators say the reported presence of the chemicals does not indicate there’s a risk present. But health advocates say the list will help consumers protect their health from chemicals that leach out of products.
Maine advocates want Collins/Snowe to support update to chemicals safety law
Portland Press Herald, November 17, 2011
The Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine wants Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to support legislation by Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey updating how chemicals are regulated by the federal government.
Postcards Delivered to Maine’s Senators in Support of Safe Chemicals Act
WABI TV5, November 16, 2011
Bangor - An environmental health group is sending a message to Senators Snowe and Collins. That message came in the form of 5,000 postcards urging the senators to support the Safe Chemicals Act. The Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine gathered outside the Federal Building in Bangor on Wednesday before delivering the post cards to the senators’ offices.
Toxic chemicals all around us, Lewiston panelists say
Sun Journal, November 16, 2011
LEWISTON — The products in front of Steve Taylor seemed innocent enough: a rubber duck, a few tin cans, a glass jar of baby food and plastic water bottles. Each, however, contained chemicals that could be harmful to human health and are largely unregulated by the government, the program director for the Environmental Health Strategy Center told a crowd in a Central Maine Medical Center conference room Tuesday evening during a workshop on chemicals found in everyday life.
Coalition members urge senators’ support for toxic control act
Bangor Daily News, November 16, 2011
It wasn’t convenient to drive two hours from southern Maine in the middle of the week for Emma Halas-O’Connor and Tracy Gregoire, but they weren’t about to slack off when a big goal was in sight. Their purpose was to promote the passage of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, which is the subject of U.S. Senate hearings on Thursday, and urge Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe to back the bill.
Demonstrators Urge Maine Senators to Support Consumer Protection Bill
WVII News , November 16, 2011
BANGOR - Proponents of federal legislation that would overhaul exiting law regulating toxic substances in consumer products rallied in downtown Bangor Wednesday. Members of the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine gathered outside the Margaret Chase Smith federal building, urging Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe to co-sponsor the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 ahead of an upcoming Senate hearing.
It’s time for a better federal chemical safety law
Bangor Daily News, Editorial, November 15, 2011
When Maine lawmakers several years ago considered banning some chemicals deemed harmful to health that were used in products sold here, one of the first arguments made in opposition was that such action would result in a patchwork quilt of regulations among the 50 states. Such inconsistencies would make it difficult for manufacturers and ultimately cut Maine off from some products, which in turn would hurt businesses and consumers. Enforcement also would be a problem, critics of the proposal also charged.
Link Between Chemicals, Overweight Kids and Diabetes Discussed at Conference in Waterville
WABI TV5, October 14, 2011
Waterville - The link between chemicals, overweight kids and diabetes was discussed in Waterville Friday. The Environmental Health Strategy Center and Colby College environmental studies program hosted the event. Organizers say there is new research that suggests household chemical exposure could be playing a big role in childhood obesity.
Chemicals Play Role in Obesity?
Portland Press Herald, October 11, 2011
Junk food and inactive lifestyles may not be the only reasons so many Americans are overweight. Some researchers now believe that chemicals in the environment may be reprogramming babies’ metabolisms. Chemical exposure, they say, may help explain the dramatic rise in obesity, even among young children.
R&D bonds are critical for economic growth in Maine
Bangor Daily News - Editorial, July 18, 2011
No one is a fan of household debt, so we understand the concerns of many Mainers about state government using bonds to purchase things that are considered wants, not needs. However, research and development bonds are debt for purchases that will benefit Maine families in the long run, like your house or education. It is appropriate for Maine to use bonds to fund R&D that leads to innovation for Maine companies and therefore create more jobs for Maine residents.
Group charges LePage ignoring BPA phase out deadlines
WCSH TV6, July 11, 2011
At a news conference this morning the Environmental Health Strategy Center charged the Department of Environmental Protection missed the July 5 deadline for manufacturers to submit plans on how they plan to rid their products of BPA. And the group claims the governor ordered a staff shake-up at the DEP that led to unqualified people working on the BPA rule.
Environmental Group Asks AG To Step In On BPA Law
WAVI TV5, July 11, 2011
This afternoon Mike Belliveau of the Environmental Health Strategy Center delivered a letter to Maine Attorney General William Schneider. In the letter Bellivau accuses the LePage administration of disregarding two legal deadlines to enforce laws that are contained in the Kids Safe Product Act.
Group Accuses LePage Administration of Dragging Feet on BPA Enforcement
Maine Public Radio, July 11, 2011
At news conferences in Portland and Bangor, the Environmental Health Strategy Center said it was asking for an investigation into whether the the LePage administration is violating two of Maine’s chemical safety laws.
Group: LePage officials ignoring environmental laws on chemicals
Kennebec Journal, July 11, 2011
Mike Belliveau, executive director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, said he hand-delivered a letter to the Attorney General’s Office asking it to compel Republican Gov. Paul LePage to comply with portions of the Kids Safe Product Act and the Toxics Use Reduction Act.
Environmental group accuses LePage of stalling BPA ban
Bangor Daily News, July 11, 2011
The state’s leading environmental health organization has charged the pro-business administration of Gov. Paul LePage with undermining key public health protections, including the pending ban against certain consumer products. In a letter hand-delivered on Monday to the office of Attorney General William Schneider, Executive Director Michael Belliveau of the Maine-based Environmental Health Strategy Center formally petitioned Schneider to take enforcement action against LePage and the Department of Environmental Protection, charging a failure to comply with two recent reporting deadlines.
Potatoes and green chemistry: More jobs, safer jobs
Bangor Daily News, July 10, 2011
Green chemicals research and development is already making a difference in the form of bioplastics, organic plastics based on plants rather than petroleum. In the last three years, the Sustainable Bioplastics Council of Maine, a trade organization promoting the bioplastics sector, has raised more than $2 million for research and development of sustainable plastics made from Maine potatoes.
Improving federal chemical laws is our moral responsibility
Lewiston Sun Journal, July 10, 2011
Responsible stewardship of the environment and responsible government must be grounded in a concern for the health of the most vulnerable among us. Thousands of unregulated chemicals currently circulate in the stream of commerce and, therefore, in our bodies and in the environment.
National chemical policy reform needed now to make children safe
Portland Press Herald, July 9, 2011
In its 35 years of operation, the Toxic Substances Control Act has failed to live up to public expectations to protect us. I urge Maine Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to co-sponsor the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 to help prevent harm to kids from everyday chemical exposures.
Troubling questions indeed
Brunswick Times Record, June 23, 2011
All of this is context for troubling questions raised by the executive director of the Portland-based Environmental Health Strategy Center in a letter sent Wednesday to Aho. In his letter, Michael Belliveau seeks an explanation for recent staffing changes at DEP that either eliminated or reassigned staff members who had been involved in the state’s Safer Chemicals in Children’s Products program.
Kid Safe product deal a model for compromise - by working together, lawmakers made consumer protections more effective.
Portland Press Herald - Editorial, May 14, 2011
By working together, lawmakers found a way to ease the business community’s concerns without weakening the protections.
Maine’s Kid Safe Products Act Compromise Wins Bipartisan Support
Maine Public Radio, May 11, 2011
“This is a victory for common sense and children’s health. It also gives more predictability and clarity to Maine businesses,” says Mike Belliveau of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, who also worked on the compromise.
New bill modifies Kids Act scope
Kennebec Journal, May 11, 2011
Mike Belliveau, executive director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, said the amended bill is a “victory for common sense and children’s health …”
BPA ban to become law without LePage’s signature
Bangor Daily News, April 22, 2011
Maine’s ban against products made with the chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA, will take effect on Jan. 1, 2012. Because Gov. Paul LePage has neither signed nor vetoed the measure in the ten days since it garnered near-unanimous support from Maine lawmakers, it will become law 90 days after the legislative session adjourns on June 15.
Child-safe is business-friendly, advocates say
Bangor Daily News, April 20, 2011
Steve Taylor, program director for the Maine-based Environmental Health Strategy Center, noted that a number of innovative business projects are under way in Maine to develop nontoxic alternatives to familiar products, including a potato-based alternative to petroleum-based plastics. “Maine can grow healthy families and a healthy economy,” he said. They go hand-in-hand.”
Report: More Oversight Needed for Toxic Products
Public News Service, April 19, 2011
Steve Taylor, Environmental Health Strategy Center program director, says companies such as True Textiles in Guilford should be applauded - but they are the exception rather than the rule. In his view, that’s because the national chemistry-safety system is broken.
Maine Manufacturers Embracing “Green” Chemistry
Maine Public Radio, April 19, 2011
Maine can be a leader, as more businesses across the nation turn to so-called green chemistry to eliminate toxic chemicals from the products they produce. That’s one of the conclusions hinted at in a new study released this morning at the University of Maine at Orono.
Maine Senate Unanimously Approves BPA Ban
Maine Public Radio, April 12, 2011
The vote today, and a similarly strong vote for the measure last week in the Maine House, would be enough to override a gubernatorial veto.
BPA ban gets unanimous Senate approval
Bangor Daily News, April 12, 2011
“We applaud the bipartisan consensus of lawmakers to protect children’s health,” Mike Belliveau, executive director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, said in a statement. “This victory for Maine families continues Maine’s tradition of embracing common sense safer chemical policies.”
Maine’s BPA phaseout imminent following Senate vote
Lewiston Sun Journal, April 12, 2011
Months of heated rhetoric and controversial comments ended abruptly with the sound of a gavel Tuesday as the Maine Senate voted unanimously to begin the phaseout of bisphenol-A, or BPA, from children’s products. The vote follows a similarly decisive vote in the Maine House last week. Combined, the two decisions meet the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto by Gov. Paul LePage.
BPA vote a defeat for outside money
Lewiston Sun Journal - Editorial, April 10, 2011
After weeks of storm and fury, the effort to overturn Maine’s ban on bisphenol-A is likely to end in a whimper. The Maine House voted overwhelmingly Thursday — and we mean overwhelmingly — to phase out BPA when used in children’s products. The final tally: 145-3. A similarly lopsided vote is expected in the Maine Senate next week. The veto-proof size of the margin marks a setback for Gov. Paul LePage, who included killing the BPA regulations in his original regulatory reform package.
Critics: Law targeting chemicals too broad
Bangor Daily News, March 30, 2011
Numerous mothers and representatives of environmental and health groups, meanwhile, said Hamper’s bill represents little more than an attempt by industry to gut a bill that is nowhere near as restrictive as opponents suggest. “The opposition to this law is having a hard time pointing to specific consequences of the law because there have been none,” said Michael Belliveau, executive director the Environmental Health Strategy Center.
Opinions clash on keeping Kids Safe
Maine Today Media (Portland Press Herald, Waterville Morning Sentinel), March 30, 2011
“If anything, it’s not working fast enough. We recommended 40 priority chemicals being designated, and we only got two,” said Mike Belliveau of the Environmental Health Strategy Center. “So the opposition to the law is having a hard time citing a specific unintended consequence to the law, because there have been none. They do have valid anxiety about what might happen in some distant, future date.”
Business groups clash with parents, environmental groups over Kid-Safe law
Lewiston Sun Journal, March 30, 2011
Environmentalists, health groups and parents came out in droves Tuesday to oppose a bill that they believe would gut the state’s Kid-Safe Products Act.
Chemical Industry Drafted Bill to Modify Maine’s Kids Safe Act
Maine Public Radio, March 29, 2011
“Not one single Maine business has been adversely affected by this law; yet it’s protecting the health of Maine children,” said Mike Belliveau of the Environmental Health Strategies Center. Belliveau says without the Kid Safe Products Act, it’s difficult for consumers, particularly parents, to find out what chemicals are in the products they use. Belliveau says the chemical industry has resisted efforts to adopt safeguards at the federal level. And even Rep. Hamper now admits that the industry wrote his bill to relax Maine law. “Industry people, obviously, well, I’ll say—wrote it—yes.”
Kids Safe Product Act Takes Center Stage
WABI TV 5 Bangor, March 29, 2011
Mike Belliveau, the Executive Director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, also showed up to offer testimony condemning Hamper’s proposed legislation. “This is really about the chemical industry from out of state coming on and joining Governor LePage in trying to rollback protections for Maine’s children,” he said.
Kid Safe Product Act Debated
WGME TV 13 Portland, March 29, 2011
A law designed to protect children, passed by the Maine Legislature back in 2008, is under scrutiny at the Capitol. The Maine State Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a bill that would scale back the Kid Safe Products Act which identifies potentially harmful chemicals in toys and other child products. The chamber says the law goes too far by naming more than 17 hundred chemicals as dangerous. But supporters of the law say the protections are necessary.
Kid Safe Product Act Works
Bangor Daily News - Editorial, March 29, 2011
On Tuesday, the Environmental and Natural Resources Committee will hear testimony on a bill to unnecessarily weaken the act. LD 1129 would make it much more difficult to place chemicals on a priority list and would create a process for removing chemicals from the list. While creating a process for removing chemicals may be needed at some point, there is no indication this is a problem now. Since the Kid-Safe Products Act was adopted, only two priority chemicals have been named and only BPA has moved to the process of replacement by safer alternatives.
Committee endorses BPA ban; LePage administration weakens stance
Bangor Daily News, March 25, 2011
A proposal to ban bisphenol-A, or BPA, in some consumer products won a unanimous endorsement from a legislative committee on Friday after weeks of sometimes contentious discussion about the dangers of the chemical. “It’s a major political defeat for Gov. LePage, and lawmakers did the right thing by standing with Maine moms and doctors in protecting children’s health,” said Mike Belliveau, executive director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center.
BPA ban approved by legislative committee
WCSH 6 Portland , March 25, 2011
A legislative committee voted unanimously late Friday to phase out the use of Bisphenol A, also known as BPA in children’s products and other resusable containers. The Maine Board of Enviromental Protection voted late last year to black retailers in Maine from selling products that contain BPA, but such a ban required approval from lawmakers. Earlier Friday supporters rallied for the ban in front of a 20-foot tall inflatable baby bottle.
Public hearings begin on BPA
WABI TV 5 Bangor, March 25, 2011
Gathered in front of a giant inflatable baby bottle, they presented reports from scientists on the dangers of BPA. “So the record on BPA is clear and overwhelming,” said Steve Taylor from the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine. “That’s the scientific reality and we hope that the committee and the Governor will be able to see that physically and visually today.”
LePage Drops Opposition to BPA Ban
Maine Public Radio, March 25, 2011
n an unexpected change of position, the LePage administration has opted not to oppose a bill that authorizes the phase out of the controversial chemical commonly known as BPA that is used in the production of plastic bottles and food containers. And the state chamber has taken a similar stance on the legislation which, if enacted by the Legislature, would make Maine the ninth state in the country to prohibit the chemical.
Different Stance on BPA from Governor
WGME TV 13 Portland, March 25, 2011
A change from the governor on legislation involving a controversial chemical. At a hearing Friday in Augusta — the commissioner of Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection announced that the LePage administration has dropped its opposition to new regulations for the chemical bisphenol a, more commonly known as BPA.
Panel OKs ban on products containing BPA
Maine Today Media (Portland Press Herald, Kennbec Journal, Waterville Morning Se, March 25, 2011
Late on Friday, the governor’s press office issued a statement that said LePage himself still opposes the ban. “Gov. LePage continues to believe, absent consensus science supporting product prohibitions, the BPA rule developed by the last administration should not go into effect,” said Adrienne Bennett, LePage’s press secretary in a written statement. State Sen. Seth Goodall, D-Richmond, said he was pleasantly surprised with the administration’s change in position. “More reasonable voices prevailed in the governor’s office,” said Matt Prindiville of the Natural Resources Council of Maine.
Manufacturing fear: Is the Chamber trying to “scare up” business testimony?
Bangor Daily News - Op-Ed, March 19, 2011
By Mike Belliveau, Special to the BDN
Perception is everything, right? That must be why the State Chamber of Commerce is working so hard to literally “scare up” support for their attempt to weaken the Kid Safe Products Act in the Maine Legislature. With no facts to support its wild claims, the Chamber has joined Gov. Paul LePage and the out-of-state chemical industry in crying that the sky is falling on the Maine economy because of an existing law to protect kids from harmful chemicals in common products.
Maine Kid Safe Products Act Under Attack
Maine Public Radio, March 16, 2011
“If there’s a chemical that could harm kids and there are products we could be getting that chemical out of that would reduce my child’s exposure or other children’s exposure, we should be doing that.” says Amanda Sears, of the Maine-based Environmental Health Strategy Center, which opposes attempts to weaken the Kid Safe Products Act.
New Technology Allows Maine Organization to Create a New Material
Maine Public Radio, March 10, 2011
Back in 1967, a young Benjamin Braddock, played by Dustin Hoffman in the classic movie “The Graduate” was given some advice: “I just want to say one word to you - just one word. Are you listening?” “Yes sir.” “Plastics.”
44 years later - Mike Belliveau has an update: “Bio-based plastics.” Belliveau is the director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, a Maine-based nonprofit that promotes clean energy and safer chemicals. He’s also one of the leading advocates of a push for locally produced, environmentally friendly plastic. Click here to hear the story, cick below to read it.
Republicans show split with LePage on BPA
Lewiston Sun Journal, March 1, 2011
Several members of the House and Senate GOP leadership indicated Monday that there isn’t much support to repeal legislation that most recently facilitated a ban on bisphenol-A, or BPA.
Maine and BPA: a brief history
Waterville Morning Sentinel, February 28, 2011
Mike Belliveau, executive director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, a nonprofit group that works to promote safe chemicals, said it’s ridiculous for LePage to say he hasn’t seen science condemning BPA. “If the governor puts on a blindfold, he’s not going to see anything — so if he refuses to look at the science that Maine’s toxicologists have reviewed or the science the United States government has reviewed, he’s not going to see the hundreds of studies that show that BPA causes adverse effects at the same levels that babies are being exposed to today,” he said.
LePage motives on BPA policy, Mills firing questioned
Lewiston Sun Journal, February 25, 2011
As Gov. Paul LePage continued to weather national fallout for recently saying women could develop “little beards” if exposed to bisphenol-A, or BPA, questions continue to mount about the motives behind the governor’s proposal to reverse a ban on the substance.
Governor’s BPA statements ‘outrageous’
Lewiston Sun Journal, February 25, 2011
“I was thrilled that Maine was going to follow the others states with the removal of BPA products,” Poulin said. “Environmental issues are progressive, and people are finally realizing the impact of chemicals, disease and the environment. I was seriously outraged when I read that Paul LePage was planning to lift the restrictions of BPA products. Clearly, Paul LePage is not looking at any science. If he did, he would not have made that statement. The science is everywhere.”
Governor’s comments on BPA galvanize enviromentalists
WCSH TV6, February 24, 2011
Enviromentalists say they are more than determined to ban a chemical used in baby bottles and other children’s products, despite Governor Paul LePage’s comments. The comments, which LePage made last week, have drawn criticism from health and enviromental activists throughout Maine and across the country.
Gov’s BPA claims draw ire from health advocates
Portland Daily Sun, February 24, 2011
“It’s feasible they could vote to disapprove the rule, but they’ve already had extensive testimony on [BPA] going back through 2010,” said Mike Belliveau, executive director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center. “Now we’re waiting to see if the governor moves beyond his unsound scientific pronouncement to actual legislative attacks on the health of Maine children,” said Belliveau, adding “It seems like the only science he listens to is from the industry that makes BPA — it’s like tobacco science.”
LePage dismisses BPA dangers; worst case is some women may have little beards
Bangor Daily News, February 23, 2011
LePage then added: “The only thing that I’ve heard is if you take a plastic bottle and put it in the microwave and you heat it up, it gives off a chemical similar to estrogen. So the worst case is some women may have little beards.”
That last comment prompted a strong reaction from Mike Belliveau, executive director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, a Maine-based advocacy group.
“It displays shocking ignorance for the science and a callous disregard for children’s health,” Belliveau said.
Maine Governor’s Bisphenol-A Remark Draws Rebukes
Maine Public Radio, February 23, 2011
And Mike Beliveau of the Environmental Health Strategy Center says he’s shocked at the profound ignorance of the governor around the science of bisphenol A. The last time the governor came under this much criticism he was telling Maine’s NAACP to quote - “kiss his butt.” “You know, Gov. LePage wouldn’t know sound science if it kissed him in the butt, frankly,” Beliveau says. “He seems to be ignorant of basic principles of science. He ignores the scientific recommendations of the state of Maine. He ignores the scientific recommendations of the U.S. government. He ignores the independent, peer-reviewed science that has been in the scientific journals.”
Enviromentalist Angry Over LePage Comments
MWTW TV 8, February 23, 2011
The Governors comments about BPA is not sitting well with some environmental activists.
LePage remarks anger enviromentalists
WGME TV13, February 23, 2011
Maine Governor Paul LePage is once again taking heat for some of his off hand remarks. The most recent example: comments he made about the chemical BPA, which environmental groups are attempting to permanently ban in Maine.
Consortium explores bioplastics potential
Maine BIZ, February 22, 2011
“We are poised on the edge of a bioplastics revolution,” says Mike Belliveau, the executive director of the nonprofit public health agency, Environmental Health Strategy Center, which has offices in Portland and Bangor. He sees a day not too far off in the future when plant-based plastic has replaced petroleum-based plastic.
Hundreds flock to public hearing on LePage environmental proposals
Bangor Daily News, February 15, 2011
Hundreds of people converged on the State House on Monday for a public hearing and rallies focused on Gov. Paul LePage’s controversial proposals to rewrite or reform Maine’s environmental regulations.
Regulatory panel gets earful at Bangor hearing
Bangor Daily News, February 11, 2011
Michael Belliveau, executive director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center in Bangor, said states with the strongest environmental protections have been shown to have better economic growth than those that don’t. Belliveau cited several examples of Maine businesses that are benefiting from the manufacturing of environmentally safe products, some of them made from recycled corn, wood and potato waste.
LePage’s secret puppeteers - How the governor outsourced his regulatory-reform efforts to corporate lobbyists
Portland Phoenix, February 10, 2011
“Not a single Maine business testified in opposition to the regulations on BPA,” says Amanda Sears, associate director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center in Portland. “The opposition to these proposals from these corporate lobbying firms is entirely about national precedent setting. These industries haven’t had the power here that they have in DC to stop these things from being enacted.”
Repeal of Kid-Safe Products Act a dangerous step backward
Waterville Morning Sentinel, February 6, 2011
As a young woman, I am very concerned about the fact that toxic chemicals in everyday products have the potential to affect my health, and the health of my future children. In Maine, toxic chemicals cost the state more than $380 million in health care every year, according to a recent study by the University of Maine, and contribute to rising rates of conditions such as cancer, asthma, learning disabilities and infertility. Although we may all be affected, however, it is children, with their small bodies and developing organ systems, who are most vulnerable.
LePage’s opposition to chemicals law draws criticism
Bangor Daily News, February 5, 2011
“It runs afoul of common sense and it exposes the governor’s hypocrisy,” said Mike Belliveau, executive director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center. “He is supposed to be for the little guy, and here he is representing the big companies from out of state.”
Environmentalists Question Source of LePage Reforms
Maine Public Radio, February 4, 2011
Ever since Governor Paul LePage released a six-page list of proposed environmental rules and regulations he’d like to relax or repealed…environmental groups and others have wanted to know where the list originated. The governor says most of them came from his red tape audit meetings held with business owners and leaders around the state. But some environmentalists are skeptical since the document itself is linked to one of the most powerful lobbying firms in the state; one that represents a wealth of corporations and interest groups that have a financial stake in weaker environmental laws.
Environmental Regulations and Business Interests May Place Maine at a Crossroads
Maine Public Radio, February 3, 2011
For the last seven years, a coalition of groups concerned about environmental issues has met with lawmakers to discuss potential issues that might affect the state’s economy. This year, they say, Governor Paul LePage’s plan to remove or modify state regulations that he sees as impediments to business development is placing Maine at a crossroads. The coalition is urging all lawmakers, particularly majority Republicans, to avoid legislation that might degrade air, land or water quality.
Spotlight on the DEP
Bangor Daily News - Editorial, February 3, 2011
One agency — the Department of Environmental Protection — has gotten the most mentions at the red tape and regulatory reform hearings being held across the state. The DEP was also the target of many of the changes called for by the governor in the lengthy list of environmental policy changes he’s advocating for. Gov. Paul LePage is right that a change in attitude may be needed in some agencies. However, his scattershot approach to easing environmental regulations, put forward in a list of 63 priority proposals for the Regulatory Fairness and Reform Committee, is counterproductive.
Big business comes first in LePage administration
Portland Press Herald, February 2, 2011
The new governor talks like a man of the people, but governs like a friend of the corporations. The Paul LePage era has been full of surprises already, and I don’t mean the kind that come from salty language on camera. We saw during the campaign that he has a short fuse and a blunt way of expressing himself, so that is not a shock. What is a surprise is that our rough-hewn, straight-talking governor is picking his close associates from the boardrooms of big companies and not from the tea party protests that gave energy to his campaign.
Out-of-State Companies Behind LePage Push for Regulatory Reform
Maine Public Radio, January 31, 2011
Gov. Paul LePage this weekend defended his proposed list of more than 60 environmental rules and regulations he’d like to see rolled back. The governor said in his weekly radio address and to a gathering of the Oxford County Chamber of Commerce that most of the proposals come from his red tape workshops that have been held throughout the state. But most of the opposition to the Kid Safe Products Law that the governor would like to repeal has typically come from out-of-state chemical companies and trade associations.
Groups protest LePage’s regulation roll-back plan
Lewiston Sun Journal, January 28, 2011
“After a few short weeks in office, Gov. LePage wants to reverse the course of history,” said Mike Belliveau, executive director of the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine. “Not only does the governor want to throw out the baby with the bath water, he wants to poison the baby first.” Belliveau referred to the state’s current BPA ban in children’s products such as baby bottles and drink cups. Maine is one of nine states to enforce a BPA ban, which is also in place in Canada and Europe. The state’s law is stricter than federal law, the standard LePage proposes adopting through LD 1. Belliveau said that more than 200 peer review studies have linked BPA exposure in babies to increased risk of brain damage and certain cancers later in life.
Environmental Coalition Urges Legislature to Reject LePage Roll Back Proposals
Maine Public Radio, January 27, 2011
Recently, the Maine Board of Environmental Protection determined that the hormone disrupting chemical bisphenol-A should be phased out of sippy cups and baby bottles. The move was opposed by chemical manufacturers, and Mike Belliveau of the Environmental Health Strategy Center says the governor appears to be putting the chemical industry’s interests ahead of those of Maine’s children. “When Gov. LePage joined with the chemical industry in attacking the Kid Safe Products Act that’s like poisoning the baby first and then throwing the baby out with the bath water. It’s really outrageous. It’s beyond the pale,” Belliveau said. “Maine parents won’t stand for it. Maine grandparents won’t stand for it. We’re confident that the Maine Legislature won’t stand for that either.”
Concerns Grow Over LePage Environmental Proposals
WMTW TV8, January 27, 2011
Gov. Paul LePage has drafted a list of enviromental laws and regulations he would like to see eliminated or rolled back. Amont the changes is one that some say will compromise the health of Maine children.
Maine Governor wants BPA law scrapped
New England Cable News, January 27, 2011
One Maine mother calls it a slap in the face from the state’s new Governor. Paul LePage has identified a list of laws he wants repealed. That includes one that bans a toxic chemical from many children’s products.
Folks Upset At LePage Regulatory Reform
WABI TV5, January 27, 2011
“Calling for a repeal of the BPA rule. Calling for a gutting of the kids safe products act and calling for Maine to become a Mississippi where we have the lowest possible minimal federal requirements for protection of our health,” says Mike Belliveau, the Executive Director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center.
Maine board weighs BPA bottle ban
Bangor Daily News, June 18, 2010
Maine could become the latest state to ban the sale of baby bottles and other reusable food and beverage containers made with bisphenol A under the first test of a relatively new state law allowing regulators to target potentially harmful chemicals.
Chemicals and Cancer
Bangor Daily News, May 24, 2010
The role synthetic chemicals in the human environment play in causing cancer has been “grossly underestimated,” the President’s Cancer Panel has concluded. In a recent letter to President Barack Obama, the panel urged him “most strongly to use the power of your office to remove the carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water and air” that needlessly increase health care costs “and devastate our lives.”
Study: Harmful Additives Found in Canned Food
Bangor Daily News, May 20, 2010
Environmental health advocates in Maine released a new national study earlier this week showing that canned foods and beverages absorb potentially dangerous amounts of bisphenol A, or BPA, from the cans’ epoxy lining.
Study Cited to Call for Ban on Bisphenol A in Maine
Portland Daily Sun, May 19, 2010
Eating common canned foods is exposing consumers to levels of bisphenol A (BPA) equal to those shown to cause health problems in laboratory animals, according to a new study released Tuesday by The National Work Group for Safe Markets, a coalition of public health and environmental health groups, including Maine’s Environmental Health Strategy Center.
Chemical Ban Puts Maine in National Spotlight
Portland Daily Sun, May 19, 2010
Maine’s chemical regulators know they’re in the national spotlight when it comes to enacting a new and groundbreaking law requiring replacement of certain designated chemicals in children’s products with safer alternatives.
Penobscot River Savior Set Environmentalist Standard
Bangor Daily News, May 17, 2010
Maine lost a groundbreaking environmentalist — and the Penobscot River a crucial protector — with the recent death at 84 of Francis W. Hatch Jr. of Castine and Boston. His extraordinary environmental activism stemmed in large part from his love of his family’s saltwater farm on the Penobscot River and would ultimately — and repeatedly — save the river itself.
Activists Push for Ban on 40 Chemicals in Maine
Portland Daily Sun, May 14, 2010
The group that led a campaign two years ago for passage of landmark chemical reform legislation in Maine staged a mock game show in Monument Square Thursday, warning that the law’s implementation might fall short of eliminating dozens of harmful chemicals.
In Response to the President’s Cancer Panel Report
New York Times, Letters, May 7, 2010
To the Editor: Nicholas D. Kristof’s column about the President’s Cancer Panel report points to the urgent need to end the reckless, unregulated flow of toxic chemicals into our air and oceans. A marine toxicologist, I have spent the last two decades studying the harmful effects of synthetic organic chemicals on marine mammals and people.
Toxics Lurking in Men’s Personal Care Products Too
Maine Public Broadcasting Network, May 4, 2010
“Pass Interference! The chemical phthalates are causing hormone havoc!” This is the set of a skit that the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine is filming at a Portland food store, a skit that they plan to post online. Steven Taylor of the advocacy group, the Environmental Health Strategy Center, wears a referee outfit as he storms in on a handful of guys watching sports.
A New Approach to Fighting Maine’s Invisible Enemy
Bangor Daily News, April 29, 2010
For those of us who lived through the 1950s, the slogan “Better Living Through Chemistry” pervaded the airways and invaded our living rooms on that miraculous new invention, the TV set. The blissful ignorance of that decade has since been replaced by scores of reasons to be concerned about the chemicals our families are exposed to every day, their consequences and costs.
Potato Plastics Group Pushes for R&D Support
Mainebiz, March 18, 2010
A Bangor-based consortium investigating the possibility of making environmentally safe and sustainable plastics from potatoes and wood chips is asking Maine’s congressional delegation to find $1.25 million in federal appropriations that could help commercialize the burgeoning new technology by next year.
High levels of contaminant found in osprey eggs
Portland Press Herald, February 26, 2010
Osprey eggs in Casco Bay contain stain repellent and other industrial chemicals at levels that may be harming the birds, according to a Gorham-based researcher.