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

Portland

I’m a registered Democrat and was planning to support Rep. Mike Michaud for governor until I read Sherry Huber’s op-ed (“Maine Voices: Mike Michaud’s record does not prove he’s ‘evolved’ on reproductive choice,” Oct. 14), which laid out Michaud’s disturbing 33-year anti-choice record. I was shocked to see that he actually voted against the law that codified Roe v. Wade. While I give Rep. Michaud some credit for “evolving” on the issue, I am not convinced; he’s voted to weaken a woman’s right to choose too recently for comfort.

That is why I will be switching my vote to Eliot Cutler. Eliot has been unequivocally pro-choice his entire life, and he has a record I can confidently stand behind. This is an important issue for me, and I’m going to do everything I can to help Eliot get elected. I’m pro-choice, and now I’m pro-Eliot!

Meredith Haley Reen

Portland

Forum set to shed light on proposed BIW tax rebate

A public forum is being sponsored by Bath Citizens for Responsible TIF Action on Nov. 13, at Bath City Hall Auditorium. Bath Iron Works is requesting a new Tax Increment Financing/Credit Enhancement Agreement that would rebate city taxes to the iron works over the next 25 years.

The rebate would help Bath Iron Works/General Dynamics finance a new development project at the yard to cover a $25 million to $40 million investment. BCRTA would like to involve the public in this issue, and shed light on the pros and cons of such a tax deal.

We have invited a representative of BIW to present their view, and have confirmed an economist from the Maine Center for Economic Policy, and a TIF expert (professor emeritus at University of Maine School of Law). We encourage each member of the City Council to attend this forum, along with the Bath city manager.

A moderator will present pre-selected questions to the panel.

There will be an audience question-and-answer session following the pre-selected questions, and audience members may submit questions anonymously on cards, or by using a microphone. The forum begins at 6:30 p.m.

This forum is in the best interest of all parties, and especially the citizens of Bath.

By shedding light on the pros and cons of this particular TIF request, we hope Bath taxpayers will have a clear understanding of the process, and feel informed enough to encourage their own city councilor to vote on the issue in the way most beneficial to the city. We encourage citizens of Bath to participate by listening and asking questions.

For more information, please contact: citizensTIFinfo@gmail.com.

Lorry Fleming

Jerry Provencher

Bath Citizens For Responsible TIF Action

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