Fifty years ago, Rachael Carson alerted the world to the dangers toxic chemicals posed to ourselves and our environment. Significant progress has been made since then to reduce our exposure to these chemicals, but more remains to be done.

The use of bisphenol A (BPA) in food containers, particularly in containers containing food for young children, is a prime example. BPA is a plastic-hardening chemical, commonly added to consumer products, that has been linked to cancer, learning disabilities, obesity and other health problems.

BPA has been removed from some products, but not all.

Much of our BPA exposure comes from the food we eat. BPA finds its way into our food by leaching out of the meal can or glass jar lids.

Young children are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of BPA and most baby foods on the market today contain BPA, even the organic brands.

Maine has already removed BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups.

Maine’s Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) is now considering a ban on BPA in food intentionally marketed to children under the age of 3. If approved, a bill will be sent to the Maine Legislature.

We know BPA is dangerous, we know our children are being exposed, and safer alternatives already exist. It’s time to eliminate BPA from children’s products.

Robert Shafto


As a mother who has been waiting for Congress to help protect my family from toxic chemicals, I am thrilled to learn that the Safe Chemicals Act has been voted out of committee and is headed to the Senate floor, the first time in over 36 years that Congress will vote on overhauling our nation’s broken chemical safety law.

I would like to thank Sen. Olympia Snowe for demonstrating public support to fix our broken chemical safety system, and pushing for action in the Senate this year.

She listened to us during our recent bus trip to Washington and honored her commitment to overhaul our broken chemical policy.

I know too many people, including my parents, who’ve died from cancer, and I want to keep my children safe from toxins in products we use each day; we can’t shop our way out of this problem.

If it weren’t for Maine, we might not have gotten this far. Sen. Snowe sent a letter to the Environment and Public Works Committee Chairs to express her support for the vote, and mentioned the support she has seen in Maine for reforming chemical safety laws.

This is an exciting moment for all of us who want toxic chemicals out of everyday products. Now I hope our senators will help lead the way towards passing the Safe Chemicals Act in the U.S. Senate.

Lalla Carothers


Romney’s priority appears to be lopsided wealth

Mitt Romney tells us that his business experience qualifies him to be our president in these troubled economic times.

If success is defined as making money for his investors and for himself, then Romney has been successful. However, Romney’s goal at Bain Capital was decidedly not to create jobs. Nor was his goal to create new productive enterprises.

His goal purely and simply was to make money. It made no difference to Romney how that goal could be reached. He could buy a company and sell off its assets, leaving the company too burdened with debt to survive, or he could close the company. He could move a company’s operations to a foreign country. Nothing mattered to Romney except making money.

In such cases, jobs in our country would be lost, but to Romney, those job losses would only be collateral damage, and not his problem, as long as he made money.

There may be nothing illegal about Romney’s business activities, but that is beside the point. The point is that Romney’s cold-blooded money chase in no way qualifies him to be our president.

Daniel Harris


Michael Gerson in his column of July 16 (“To transcend generic Republicanism, Romney must address upward mobility”) offers the opinion that “Obama’s message is now in the full Labor Party mode: soak the rich.”

In view of this, he suggests that Mitt Romney could help his cause by recognizing that he, and America, have a class problem and recommends that he could take the high ground by “encouraging social mobility” as a unifying bipartisan goal.

Instead of the GOP defending the rich, defend “a society in which everyone has the possibility of becoming richer. Upward mobility requires the broad diffusion of skills and social capital.”

To achieve this transformation, “Romney should demonstrate some market-oriented innovation in extending advantages to others: promoting early childhood education, high school completion, college attendance and graduation, parenting skills and wealth building among the disadvantaged.”

My belief is that if Romney, with or without the help of Gerson, can devise a scheme to promote wealth building among the disadvantaged through some “market-oriented” innovation, most of the rest will fall into place. Indeed, we are overdue for the redressing of the huge disparity that affords more than 85 percent of the national wealth to only 20 percent of Americans while the bottom 40 percent survive on less than 1 percent of the national wealth.

To succeed, any such scheme must also reverse the lopsided income distribution particular to the U.S. among industrialized nations, one that continues to direct wealth to the wealthy.

Perhaps the GOP and Romney will join Gerson in making a top priority of addressing the problems outlined which afflict an ever-increasing number of citizens.

“Market-oriented” innovation has a lovely ring to it, and we need to know more. Let’s hope it is not just another euphemism for cutting taxes for the wealthy, kowtowing to corporations and trying to disenfranchise as many poor voters as might be disinclined to go along.

Roger Addor


King’s record shows he works with both parties

I have been a “Yellow Dog” Democrat for many years, although I did vote for Eisenhower, Nixon and George H.W. Bush.

Today, I am straying from the flock to support Angus King. As governor of Maine, he proved that he can work with both sides, and that is exactly what we need in the Senate. Bickering and gridlock are paralyzing Congress, and it’s time to try another route.

Kendall Morse


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