November 12, 2013

Letters to the editor: Toxic chemicals should be disclosed

We need our lawmakers to introduce legislation that requires large companies to report their use of phthalates in products, a Portland dad says.

As a dad with two young children, I am always trying to make sure that anything in our home is safe.

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Rubber ducks are among today’s popular toys. A Portland man would like to see better labeling of the chemicals in products for kids.

But despite our best efforts, my wife and I have realized that too many products contain hidden toxic chemicals.

For example, I just learned that a Sponge Bob rain poncho was just tested for toxic chemicals called phthalates, and found to have nearly seven times the federal safety standard for phthalates in toys.

I have also learned that phthalates, like BPA, are hormone-disrupting chemicals that pose real risks to children, especially for baby boys.

As a dad with a 4-month-old son, (I believe) this is unacceptable.

Now I want to know, what products in my home contain toxic phthalates?

That’s why my wife, Katie Mae, and I have agreed to participate in a new bio-monitoring project to test our own bodies for phthalates.

We expect to learn our results in January, and in the meantime, I’m calling on my legislators to take action.

We need our lawmakers to help dads like me avoid toxic chemicals, by introducing legislation that requires large companies to report their use of phthalates in products.

Phthalates have long been associated with harm to children. Every day our children are growing up – when will lawmakers take action?

What could possibly be a legitimate argument for using toxic chemicals that cause serious health issues while not disclosing the chemicals to consumers?

Zachary Bouchard

Portland

Views differ on Michaud and reproductive choice

Over the past three months, small groups of progressive women from around the state have met with gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud to talk about his stance on reproductive freedom and choice. These women have ranged in age from their early 20s to mid-80s; all have been active – individually and collaboratively – on these issues for many years, sharing strong convictions about the importance of reproductive choice in the lives of women throughout the state and the nation.

We are two of those women.

In our meetings, Mike was attentive, a trait for which he is well-known. He listened, carefully. He also posed questions to us, seeking to expand his understanding, making sure that all those in attendance had ample opportunity to voice their ideas and thoughts – another of his attributes: inclusiveness.

His responses were equally considered. Mike talked about earlier days when the issue of reproductive choice was not foremost on his mind, when he had not had enough opportunities to speak with women who had exercised this choice – and why. He made clear to us that these conversations have shaped the evolution of his position, and that reproductive freedom and choice will be upheld under his governorship. In fact, he clarified this in a recent column in this newspaper.

Mike has changed in his position on choice over the years listening to Mainers talk about their lives and their experiences – as it should be. Change is a constant, something to be revered. What we want and need are elected officials who consider the power of change, both within themselves and for the good of society.

With Mike Michaud as governor, we can be assured that he will continue to assure that Maine protects reproductive freedom and choice for women and for men so that they may lead lives of value and integrity.

Karin Anderson

Portland

Luisa S. Deprez

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