There is now convincing, scientific documentation that would lead a prudent individual to conclude that the phthalate class of chemicals is causing a wide variety of horrific diseases and deformities, probably by disrupting important normal hormonal signaling.

Sex organ deformities, premature puberty, subnormal intelligence, autism, obesity and diabetes are just a partial listing of conditions that correlate with high phthalate levels found in affected individuals.

Phthalates are added to a huge number of products in everyday use by all of us, and appear to be all too easily absorbed, especially by the young. Yet there is no requirement that they be identified on product labels so that they could be avoided.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is being asked to make such a common-sense ruling preceded by a 60-day public comment period. To counteract the testimony of the chemical industry lobbyists, the DEP needs to hear voices advocating for protection from this pollution.

The Environmental Health Strategy Center is a Maine-based nonprofit leading this effort. They offer guidance to aid anyone who wishes to join in this effort, and they can be contacted at 699-5795.

David L. Adams, M.D.

Yarmouth