Sens. Snowe and Collins, R-Maine, should co-sponsor the Safe Chemicals Act. Under the act, the Environmental Protection Agency will test chemicals for safety and toxicity before they end up on the market. Did you think that chemicals were already tested before they went into products? They aren’t.

Many of the products in our own homes (stain resistant furniture, floor protectant, nonstick cookware, plastics, light bulbs) threaten one’s health because they contain toxic ingredients. Shampoos contain chemicals known to cause cancer. Lead is still allowed in art supplies, hair dyes, lipstick and even imported candy.

As a mother, I am discouraged that everyday chemicals found in our homes, places of work and communities are not regulated, as common sense would dictate. These chemicals are contributing to higher rates of cancer, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and dangers to reproductive health.

The EPA tried to use the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 to restrict asbestos in 1989 and failed. No wonder we have to keep raising money to fight cancer. It’s because we’re not fighting to prevent it.

That’s why I’m excited that our 35-year-old toxic chemical law is being reformed to reflect real science. Out of the 80,000 chemicals used in commerce today, 62,000 are “grandfathered,” the EPA has tested just over 200; and regulated only five. Really.

Under the Safe Chemicals Act, the EPA would be given new authorities and to take immediate action to reduce exposure to chemicals that have been known toxins for years, like lead and asbestos. Far too many people I know are suffering from cancer.

Our senators have a unique opportunity to protect the health of future generations of Maine families. There would be no better legacy for them than to leave their constituents with a promise of good health and real health reform.

Suzanne A. Foley-Ferguson

Scarborough

High gas prices don’t seem to deter those who idle

I guess gas prices aren’t really as bad as some folks seem to think. I still see plenty of folks smoking cigarettes while they sit in their parked gas guzzlers with the motor running.

Phyllis Reames

Portland

Senate candidates should tell us their stances on Iran

Last December I wrote to you about Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe’s long string of votes to start and feed a hellish war against Iraq. Since then she has decided not to seek a fourth Senate term. The damage she did by backing “Bush’s War” dwarfs anything else she may have done with her time during her too-long tenure.

It’s nice that she’s finally on her way out, and here’s hoping the same goes for abominable politicians who have started beating war drums, this time against Iran. All those vying for her vacant Senate seat should tell how they would vote on backing the attack on Iran that’s being threatened by Israel and seconded by its toadies.

Marjorie Gallace

Camden

Brady deserves to be paid best among quarterbacks

As a die-hard New England Patriots fan, I am getting increasingly tired of all the various sports experts calling Peyton Manning the best quarterback ever and putting Drew Brees at the same level.

Yes, Manning played for 14 years with the Colts and he has broken many NFL records, but in those years he has only won one Super Bowl.

Brees has also broken many records with the Saints and he to, has won only one Super Bowl.

Our quarterback, Tom Brady, on the other hand, has broken many records with our New England Patriots and he was able to secure three Super Bowls in a four-year span and was also the most valuable player in two of those. He has also shown a lot of class and has restructured his contract many times so the Patriots could afford to sign talented players and to stay competitive.

As I write this, they are reporting that Manning could make up to $40 million dollars per year and the Saints want to pay Brees at Brady’s level. It is about time the Patriots give Brady some payback and make him the highest-paid quarterback in the league. What do you think?

Randall Hocking

Rockland

One problem we can solve: money’s hold on politics

As Karl Marx has predicted, capitalism has led to the state of affairs where the income gap between the rich and poor has reached an uncomfortable difference, so opposition groups in the U.S. and around the world are revolting.

The Arab world’s youth have finally realized that they have not had an even break in their societies. Equally, the Western world’s youth have not been able to keep up financially with their fellow “whiz kids” or even to support a life of bare survival, or to make enough to support a family.

What solutions are there in the 21st century? Communism has been tried in Russia, but with the bad managers of Lenin and Stalin. It never was very appealing to the U.S., especially with Sen. Eugene McCarthy.

In Europe, fascism certainly has not worked. Various forms of socialism have been tried in Germany and Scandinavia with fair success. But what would fit in the U.S.?

In order to prevent chaos, there is a solution that might work to overcome our principal problem of the moment: money in politics. There always have been some money or illegal influence in Washington, but never to this degree. The high cost of running an election is given as the excuse. The race for equal dollars with your opponent is always present and there’s never enough. The starting line is so far from being the same, and the fairness of an even race is never present when money is involved, as it is currently.

Philip Thompson

Portland

Piece of paper reminds us that state governs marriage

As the marriage equality debate heats up, I am reminded of the wedding of a very good friend that almost did not take place.

A hurricane was scheduled to make a direct hit on their planned outdoor wedding. Friends and family scrambled to find an indoor venue (a church) and work through associated details on extremely short notice.

What almost brought the wedding to a screeching halt, however, was not the impending storm. The morning of the big day, the minister refused to perform the ceremony. This was not on religious grounds or due to a question of faith, commitment or (perish the thought) sexual orientation.

In all the hoopla, my friends had neglected to get a marriage license. Without this blessing from the reigning government entity, the church official was unable and unwilling to unite this devoted heterosexual couple.

So much for all those arguments that say marriage is a contract with God. The truth is that marriage is a government-sanctioned union.

As such, let us go forth and skip the argument that marriage is only for those of a chosen religious faith who have the potential to procreate. Marriage is a right that should be available to all regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or political party.

Ann Thayer

Yarmouth