June 16, 2010

Letters to the editor:
Safety prescription from Doctor Dad

I will celebrate Father's Day with my daughter by wading in the ocean or taking a bike ride. I am a pediatrician, and the fathers of many of my patients will do the same. I am thrilled to see my daughter and my patients thrive and grow, and I want to keep them safe from danger.

Some dangers we can see, but it's the ones we can't that concern me most, like the toxic chemicals in a child's world.

Clinical evidence suggests that chemicals found in pesticides, household cleaners, plastics and personal care products threaten the health of our children.

Even before they are born, children are exposed to thousands of these chemicals, most of which have not been tested for safety. I am convinced that toxic chemicals in our environment will soon be shown to cause a wide spectrum of disease in adults and children.

The good news is that for the first time in over 30 years, we now have a chance to fix the chemical safety laws that have allowed toxins into our food, toy chests and bathrooms.

The Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 would require new health and safety information and minimum health safety standards for all chemicals, and the phase-out of the most dangerous chemicals.

Please urge Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to support this legislation. Let's make future Father's Days safer for our children.

Jeff Peterson, M.D.

Portland

 

'Openly gay' letter a study in contradictions

I would like to respond to the June 9 letter writer who has a problem with "openly gay" military personnel serving in uniform. This reader asks, "Who really cares if a person is gay?" but then goes on to recite reasons why others should be kept from knowing that some of their comrades are in fact homosexual. This is a blatant contradiction.

Then this person goes on to ask what will happen when openly gay personnel serve – will they pester their straight comrades? Will they monopolize the showers? What? Are heterosexuals pestering their comrades? Are they monopolizing the showers?

Bad behavior is bad behavior – why should anyone assume gays would be more prone to it?

Here's another reason: Gays might be "openly" having sex with another gay. Are we talking about public behavior here? Are heterosexuals in the military "openly" having sex with each other? I hope not. Why would it be any different for gays? The rules apply to everyone.

Assuming that gays would behave more inappropriately than straights is anti-gay bias. How would it feel to have someone assume these things about you?

Mary Burdick

Scarborough

 

Newspaper should focus on nation's energy future

As a resident and native of this state, and an online reader of your publication, I implore you to provide more information coverage, and editorials about reducing our national addiction to oil. It is way past time to get serious.

Here's what everyone needs to know, and it is the job of the free press to keep this as front page news.

Experts have been saying for years that a true investment in clean energy could move our economy away from oil over 20 years. It's just a question of starting down that path.

Anywhere from 42 million to over 100 million gallons of oil are already devastating the waters off the Gulf Coast. In comparison, the Exxon Valdez spill -- the previous worst in U.S. history -- spilled 11 million gallons into waters around Alaska in 1989.

The choice is clear, and so are the consequences. If we don't transition off oil, the next disaster is just a matter of time. But the real disaster is what we are doing to sustainable life on the planet. We are destroying the only home we have.

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