March 18, 2013

Letters to the editor: Public deserves protection from toxins

As a Maine native and father of a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old, I am a careful label reader. Sure, my trips to the grocery store often take a bit longer, but I want to know exactly what is going into my family's bodies.

click image to enlarge

Toy tugboats made from recycled milk cartons that are free of BPA and phthalates are seen at the International Toy Fair in New York in 2010. Readers support a proposal to identify everyday products that contain phthalates, BPA and other toxic chemicals and remove the chemicals from these products.

2010 File Photo/The Associated Press

Unfortunately, even diligent label reading is not enough to protect my little ones from substances like the 49 "Chemicals of High Concern" identified by the state of Maine last year. These are chemicals proven through strong scientific evidence to cause cancer, reproductive problems and hormone disruption.

We all want our kids to live a long, healthy and prosperous life, so it's frightening to know that such chemicals are present in many household products.

It seems to me that the burden should not be on a parent to do the extensive research necessary to figure out whether, for example, my son's fleece pajamas contain a carcinogenic flame retardant.

This is a perfect example of when government regulation to help protect the public is urgently called for.

So I am proud to see Maine considering legislation that would do just that. "An Act to Further Protect Pregnant Women and Children from Toxic Chemicals" will identify which products contain the worst toxic chemicals, prioritize new chemicals for action and close a loophole that currently blocks the state from regulating BPA in food packaging for adults and kids over age 3.

Most corporations are by definition concerned with their bottom line over the public's health. Keep in mind that Monsanto went as far as to sue Maine's Oakhurst in an effort to prevent labeling milk as not containing the artificial growth hormone rBGH.

I support L.R. 1627 and urge my elected officials and fellow Maine citizens to do the same.

Dustin Urban

Portland

I'm not your typical voice for more stringent toxic chemical regulation. I'm neither a parent nor a pregnant mother, not a doctor or physician, but I am 28, a proud lifelong Mainer and an advocate for the future of my state.

I attended the deliberative sessions on BPA prohibition for packaging in baby food and infant formula, and I applaud the Board of Environmental Protection for voting unanimously in favor of the prohibition.

This is a first step, but BPA is the worst and we're only able to protect children under 3 from this dangerous chemical.

Maine has identified 49 "Chemicals of High Concern" that are commonly found in our everyday products. Yet no labeling exists to inform us as to where they are and what they're in. When it comes to consumer purchasing knowledge, we're all in the dark.

Our new state entry sign boasts, "Maine: Open for Business," but I can't help but worry at what cost. I refuse to let my state be a laboratory for the chemical industry and our kids its test subjects. That's not "the way life should be."

Sure, product labeling for toxic chemicals is expensive, but so are my 30-year-old brother's cancer treatments. With a rising percentage of miscarriages, increased learning disabilities and a frightening rate of cancer diagnosis, we must demand an avenue that adequately protects our most vulnerable from exposure to these chemicals because industry just doesn't care.

State Sen. Seth Goodall's bill, "An Act to Further Protect Pregnant Women and Children from Toxic Chemicals," will identify which products contain the worst toxic chemicals, prioritize new chemicals and close a loophole that currently blocks the state from regulating BPA in food packaging for everyone over 3. Concerned Mainers statewide, take action and contact your district representatives and senators.

Andrew Hikade

Portland

Civic-minded Sarah Tracy would serve Freeport well

We are submitting this letter in support of Sarah Tracy, candidate in the Freeport District 2 Town Council election, which will be held Wednesday.

We have had the pleasure of knowing Sarah and her family for eight years, and in that time have found her to be exactly the kind of person who we believe will serve the interests of Freeport extremely well.

We know that Sarah's extensive professional experience as a lawyer, most recently working for the state of Maine, and her personal experience as the parent of three young daughters in the Freeport school system will equip her well for Town Council.

She is an excellent listener, very accomplished at balancing the needs of multiple constituents and finding workable solutions. Perhaps even more importantly, Sarah is a person of strong values and ethics and one of the most hardworking people we know. We know she will work hard to make our town the best that it can be.

Sarah has already demonstrated her strong commitment to Freeport, where she grew up and attended the local high school, by returning to here after college to build her career and raise her family.

Sarah has volunteered extensively to make our community stronger, including serving on the board of Wolfe's Neck Farm for five years, and as co-organizer of the major annual fundraiser for Freeport Community Services for eight years.

We know that Sarah is now ready to take on an even more important role on the Town Council to help keep Freeport a great place for all residents.

Fiona and Rob Wilson

Freeport

'Outing' gun-permit holders treats them as lawbreakers

I read with considerable disgust and dismay the article in the Press Herald by Michael Shepherd titled "Big push for gun-data shield at Maine hearing" (March 13).

The argument that "public oversight of officials will be compromised" by protecting the privacy of permit holders is a red herring.

The real agenda of the left is to "out" the permit holders as if they were registered sex offenders or something, in order to put them in a negative light and tell the public who these "evil" permit holders are.

Statistics prove that concealed-carry permit holders are many times less likely to commit crime, and there has never been a problem with permits being granted to dangerous people.

This is just a smokescreen to continue the assault on the Second Amendment and law-abiding gun owners, as well as a great way to tell the burglars which houses have guns.

The Bangor Daily News is no different from the paper in New York that did the same thing. It is a political ploy and nothing more.

Peter Howe

Standish

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