Wednesday, June 19, 2013
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Gov. Paul LePage
This comment is insulting, disrespectful and ignorant, and it truly frightens me that he is in a position to make these decisions about the future of my child, my unborn baby and my family, despite what dozens of scientists have proven to be fact.
Allowing a well-known toxic chemical like BPA to be introduced back into the Maine market of baby bottles, sippy cups, infant formula cans and baby food jar lids is purposely and knowingly increasing our children's risk of brain damage, reproductive harm, several types of cancer and obesity.
There is no reason to roll back public health and consumer protections that eight other states and other countries have implemented and that are working well to protect families.
We should not weaken our standards and expose our children to known toxic chemicals while waiting for the federal government to update a law that is 35 years old. I hope other leaders in Maine realize the dangers of LePage's proposal to repeal parts of the Kid-Safe Products Act and will work to maintain Maine's current BPA ban and make it a "priority chemical" under that same law.
As a Maine resident, I have taken pride in the many state initiatives that make it easier to make healthy choices for myself and my family. It is disheartening and concerning that a deliberate step could be taken to change this course and make it more difficult for me to keep my family healthy and safe.
As an endocrinologist and president of the Maine Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, I am writing to address the proposed elimination or weakening of the Kid-Safe Products Act and the elimination of restrictions on bisphenol-A (BPA).
We are surrounded by thousands of synthetic chemicals, most of which remain unstudied in terms of their impact on human health. In an attempt to fill the void left by the federal government's inaction, Maine passed the Kid-Safe Products Act to establish a scientifically based methodology for determining which chemicals have the greatest negative effects on human health and for which safer alternatives exist.
Health professionals from across Maine supported this bill because it established a sound, step-by-step science-based process for assessing chemical safety. The Endocrine Society, the pre-eminent professional association of endocrinologists, has published convincing data implicating BPA as an endocrine disrupting chemical. EDCs are chemicals that disrupt the action of one of the body's natural hormones by mimicking that hormone in an unnatural way.
Contrary to Gov. Paul LePage's statement, EDCs that mimic estrogen, such as BPA, do not cause "women to grow little beards." They can, however, disrupt the normal sexual and reproductive development of fetuses, children and adults, with grave consequences. For this reason, BPA was designated as the first environmental toxic chemical to be phased out of children's products in Maine.
Unfortunately, there is now an attempt to ignore the underlying science and roll back the progress we have made. I urge the Maine Legislature to stand firmly behind sound scientific data and good science-based policy. It is vital for the health of all Mainers.
Daniel S. Oppenheim, Ph.D., M.D.