As a young woman and student, I am very concerned about toxic chemicals in our everyday products that could have serious effects on my future health.

Recently I have heard a lot in the news about phthalates – chemicals that can cause serious reproductive health disorders, early puberty in girls and asthma.

The everyday products that I use today may seem harmless, but I have no idea of their future repercussions. What’s worse is that these chemicals are in all kinds of products that I could own, but it is so difficult to tell whether my products contain hidden phthalates.

I now know phthalates are in many lotions, shampoos and other personal care products – especially ones that use some type of fragrance.

Several products that I use every day, like shampoo, conditioner, lotion, hair mousse, perfume and deodorant, probably have exposed me to phthalates and other toxic chemicals. It is scary for me to think that products I use every day might contain a toxic chemical, but there is no way for me to know for sure.

The point is, even though I am a careful consumer, I need more information in order to keep myself safe. I have the right to know when a product contains a toxin that is harmful to my body.

Right now, our state has the power to do something about this. Maine citizens recently brought a proposal to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, backed by more than 2,000 signatures, calling on them to gather information on which products contain phthalates.

I’m standing with my community to make sure more people are aware of this toxin, and I’m calling on the Maine DEP to help fill this information gap. We all have a right to know whether toxic chemicals are in our everyday products.

Alexandra Druck

Portland