As a mother, I strongly believe that we owe it to our children to make sure that they are safe from harm. This includes protecting them from toxic chemicals that can cause serious health problems.

I am particularly concerned about phthalates, a group of harmful hormone-disrupting chemicals that are linked to learning and behavioral problems, asthma and reproductive issues later in life. Phthalates are everywhere – in our children’s shoes and toys, as well as in common household items such as shampoos, shower curtains and flooring.

We need more information about the products that contain phthalates in order to avoid exposure to these dangerous chemicals. The problem is that manufacturers are not required to disclose which products contain phthalates. So we’re all left in a toxic guessing game.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection is considering a proposal brought to them by a group of Maine citizens that would require large corporations to disclose their use of phthalates to Maine consumers.

Across the state of Maine, doctors, scientists, parents, businesses and teachers have all stated their support for this rule giving us the right to know about our exposure to phthalates. The DEP has until Jan. 27 to decide whether to act to protect our children or do nothing and thereby put them at risk.

I call on the Maine DEP to take this modest step toward helping Maine families reduce their exposure to these harmful chemicals, and I encourage others to urge the DEP to do the right thing for the children of Maine.

Linda Beck