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Executive Order Promoting Safer Chemicals
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On February 22, 2006, Governor John Baldacci issued an Executive Order calling for state action to promote safer alternatives to toxic chemicals in household products as a way to protect the health of Maine people and the environment, and to create new economic opportunities. Titled "An Order Promoting Safer Chemicals in Consumer Products and Services," the Executive Order will reduce state purchasing of toxic products and reduce pesticide use around state office buildings as well as increase public education on the availability of safer alternatives to products in the home that contain hazardous chemicals.

Maine children witness Governor John Baldacci's signing of the Executive Order.

To further research and assess the extent of problems associated with toxic chemical exposure in Maine, the Governor convened the Task Force to Promote Safer Chemicals in Consumer Products. In December 2007, the Task Force issued its Final Report calling for a comprehensive chemicals policy; expanded consumer and retailer education; and establishing a Maine Innovation Economic Advisory Board.

Governor Baldacci took a bold step in issuing this Executive Order. The Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine worked closely with The Governor's staff and department heads to develop the Order. It is precedent-setting in that no other state has taken such a bold step calling for the development of safer consumer products that are good for our families and economy. This will provide a foundation on which Maine can build an economy free of unnecessary, toxic chemicals that build up in our bodies and threaten the health of our families.

Please consider writing a letter of appreciation to Governor Baldacci. His contact information follows:

Office of the Governor
#1 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0001

Phone: 287-3531; 287-6548 (TTY)
Fax: 287-1034

12 FY 06/07
February 22, 2006


WHEREAS, Maine is dedicated to the mutually dependent goals of economic development, public health promotion and environmental protection; and

WHEREAS, further development of safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals in Maine has the potential to spur business growth, create jobs, improve public health, lower the costs of health care and special education, and protect the environment; and

WHEREAS, the University of Maine actively participates in the New England Green Chemistry Consortium and is pursuing federal funding to support research and development of chemical engineering solutions that avoid the use of hazardous materials, including sustainable bio-based chemicals and plastics derived from Maine forest and agricultural products such as potatoes; and

WHEREAS, the production, use and disposal of consumer products containing hazardous chemicals poses preventable risks of harm to human health and the environment in Maine and elsewhere; and

WHEREAS, a growing body of scientific evidence points to chemical exposures as preventable risk factors in a number of chronic diseases, disabilities and premature deaths; and

WHEREAS, Maine Center for Disease Control (Maine CDC) has issued health advisories due to the presence of persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals (PBTs), such as mercury, chlorinated organic compounds and cadmium in Maine fish and game; and

WHEREAS, there are data demonstrating ongoing and substantial increases in human breast milk and blood of chemicals known to occur in consumer products, such as PBDEs, which are among the most widely used brominated flame retardants (BFRs); and

WHEREAS, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the third National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, the most extensive biomonitoring study ever conducted of the U.S. population, which detected 148 chemicals in blood or urine, although in many cases health risks have not been determined; and

WHEREAS, scientific concerns are growing about endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), like bisphenol A, that affect the hormone system; and

WHEREAS, Maine has joined others states in passing laws to require clean products and industrial processes so as to reduce or eliminate environmental releases of mercury, dioxin, arsenic, BFRs, lead and other chemical pollutants; and

WHEREAS, the State of Maine has established a broad range of product procurement practices oriented toward the preservation of natural resources, the promotion of environmental sustainability, and the protection of the health and safety of employees, citizens, and visitors of the State; and

WHEREAS, state government should continue to exercise leadership in developing and promoting safer substitutes to chemicals with inherently hazardous properties when such alternatives are available, effective and affordable; and

WHEREAS, several Maine-based companies are widely recognized for the development of products and services that eliminate or minimize the use of hazardous chemicals and environmentally harmful materials; and

WHEREAS, environmental technology is one of the seven targeted technology sectors identified in Maine statute; and

WHEREAS, it is in the best interests of the people of Maine to continue and expand state leadership in promoting sustainable economic development and environmental public health protection through the elimination of the use of and environmental release and discharge of hazardous chemicals of concern within the next generation.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, John E. Baldacci, Governor of the State of Maine, do hereby order and direct as follows:

I. Consumer Education for Healthy Homes

By July 1, 2006, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the State Planning Office (SPO) shall incorporate readily available information on source reduction and safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals in consumer products into their public education efforts, including websites, regarding household hazardous waste, universal waste and solid waste.

By July 1, 2007, the Maine CDC, shall develop and distribute a public education brochure that informs the public on the identification and prevention of exposure to environmental health hazards commonly encountered in the home. Maine CDC and the DEP will coordinate on similar publications and outreach efforts targeting environmental health hazards commonly encountered in the home.

The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Council Coordinators from the Department of Agriculture and University of Maine Cooperative Extension will continue to distribute an informational brochure to promote the use of existing web resources for educating homeowners about less toxic alternatives to pesticides commonly employed in and around Maine homes. Distribution will occur as resources allow. An electronic copy will be made available to organizations who may also wish to distribute this brochure.

The DEP shall continue to support a regional effort to promote healthy homes and prevent chemical hazards through coordinated efforts involving the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS) and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers (ASTHO).

II. Priorities for Safer Alternatives to Toxic Chemicals

The following are next steps for immediate action on chemicals that the State of Maine has already identified as a priority:

Mercury. The DEP shall take steps to further progress toward achieving the regional goal adopted in 1998 in cooperation with the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers to “virtually eliminate mercury from anthropogenic (human-caused) sources” as resources allow. These steps include, but are not limited to, submission of legislation to phase out miniature batteries containing mercury, improving mercury thermostat recovery at end of life, expanding other efforts to divert mercury from the waste stream and to reduce emissions from waste disposal facilities. The DEP shall continue to promote regional efforts to reduce mercury emissions that come into Maine from sources located in other states.

Lead. The Maine CDC in cooperation with the DEP shall contract for a report assessing lead-free alternatives to the current use of lead in consumer products. The report will be funded by allocations from the Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund with a completion goal around April 2008.

BFRs. By July 1, 2006, the DEP shall review emerging information related to the availability of alternatives to the BFRs known as DecaBDE and shall issue a report re-examining the department's preliminary conclusion that safer alternatives are nationally available.

Pesticides. The Bureau of General Services (BGS), in consultation with the Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension staff, shall develop policies that call for the least toxic method of pest control and the least amount of pesticide use in buildings and on grounds that will allow safe and comfortable occupancy by State employees, visitors and the general public. To this end, BGS’ policies shall include the following:

a. State owned and managed office buildings and their grounds shall be managed in accordance with IPM principles and consistent with pertinent laws and regulations. The policies shall include provisions for the participation of designated building representatives in decisions pertaining to pest management within their building and general occupant notification procedures by the building representatives.

b. New contracts for pest management services shall require the vendor to comply with BGS policies addressing pest management. The policies shall be incorporated into contract renewals and amendments when feasible.

c. Other task forces and agencies of state government shall cooperate with BGS in providing technical advice about pesticides, and services as policies are developed.

d. The BGS, in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture, and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Pest Management Office, will develop and implement a plan for providing IPM training to BGS employees responsible for management of State-owned buildings and grounds. Implementation will proceed as resources are available.

e. Consistent with IPM principles, the BGS policies will prohibit use of fertilizer-pesticide mixtures or other pesticides for purely cosmetic purposes. 

f. BGS shall review the Department of Agriculture’s model policy prepared for and used by Maine schools, and consider adapting it to state buildings and grounds.

g. The Department of Agriculture, through the IPM Council, will explore available IPM certification programs and will provide recommendations to BGS on the feasibility of requiring that contracts for pest management on State-owned and State-leased properties include provisions requiring that service providers be IPM-certified.

III. State Purchasing of Safer Alternatives

The State of Maine shall continue its commitment to environmentally preferable procurement so as to purchase products and contract for services that have a reduced negative impact on human health and the natural environment in comparison to other products and services that serve similar purposes.  To that end, the State shall carry on its efforts to seek ways to increase the acquisition of such products and services to the extent feasible, balancing price, performance, availability, and safety. 

In carrying out this commitment, the Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS), the Division of Purchases, and the Department of Transportation (DOT) in cooperation with other executive branch agencies, shall avoid products and services that contain, use or release chemicals that are PBTs or carcinogens whenever safer alternatives are available, effective and affordable. The Governor’s Task Force to Promote Safer Chemicals in Consumer Products, created herein at section IV, shall direct the DAFS and the DOT to a list or other information from authoritative resources to identify PBT's and carcinogens. The Task Force will consult with the Division of Purchases to ensure the information source will be realistically useable by purchasing staff. Immediate priorities for implementing this policy include, but are not limited to:

a. The state fleet is transitioning to lead-free wheel weights. The DOT is researching and trial testing a variety of lead free wheel weight alternatives. The DOT's conclusions will be shared with other state fleet managers to inform their transition to lead-free wheel weights.

b. Lead-free alternatives are expected to be the replacement product at state owned and operated garage and maintenance facilities for passenger cars and light duty trucks by July 2006. When state fleet vehicles are serviced in privately owned garages, state officials shall specify that lead-free weights must be installed if available; however, if not available, lead weights may be installed. They must be replaced with lead-free weights when next serviced at a state garage or maintenance facility.

c. When practical, the State will procure uniforms and clothing made of materials and constructed in a manner that will not require laundering by dry cleaning with perchloroethylene (Perc). For employees who are provided a stipend for uniforms, information on alternative cleaning methods that do not use Perc will be provided annually with uniform maintenance allowance stipends. The DEP will provide the information on alternative cleaning in electronic format for use by affected state agencies. Exempt from these requirements are employee uniforms/clothing labeled with laundering instructions that allow machine laundering in water.

IV. Task Force to Promote Safer Chemicals in Consumer Products

The Governor’s Task Force to Promote Safer Chemicals in Consumer Products is hereby established.

a. Membership

The Task Force shall consist of twelve (12) members appointed by, and serving at the pleasure of the Governor, including the Deputy Commissioner, Department of Environmental Protection, who shall chair the Task Force; the Deputy Commissioner, Department of Economic and Community Development or designee; the State Toxicologist or designee, an  IPM Council Coordinator (the Department of Agriculture IPM Coordinator and the Cooperative Extension IPM Coordinator will share staffing of this single position; in the event of voting this position will have only one vote); three members from the environmental public health community including a representative from the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine, a Maine environmental policy organization and a Maine public health organization; three members from the business community including a representative from a Maine manufacturer that practices environmentally sustainable production, a Maine business association and one other Maine business; one representative from a University in the University of  Maine system who is involved in research and development; and, one representative of a Maine labor organization.

Other state agencies shall be called on to participate when Task Force discussion relates to their area of responsibility and expertise.  The Task Force may establish committees as necessary to work on specific tasks and may invite other persons with expertise in those fields to provide information that may be helpful to the work of the committees and the Task Force.

b. Duties

The purpose of the Task Force is to identify and promote the use and development of safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals in consumer goods and services made, provided or sold in Maine so as to benefit public health, the environment and the economy for all Maine people.  The specific duties of the Task Force are to:

i. Survey relevant knowledge and activities related to promoting safer alternatives to priority chemicals in the areas of environmental public health policy development, green chemistry research and development, and economic incentives;

ii. Develop recommendations for a more comprehensive chemicals policy that requires safer substitutes to priority chemicals in consumer products and creates incentives to develop safer alternatives, on a state and regional basis;

iii. Develop recommendations on expanded consumer education, retailer education and training, supply chain information and public right-to-know in order to promote markets for safer alternatives;

iv. Develop recommendations for submission to the Maine Science and Technology Advisory Council on expanded research and development of safer alternatives to priority chemicals in consumer products, including investment in green chemistry research and development and the possibility of developing bio-based plastics from Maine-based agricultural and forest products.
c. Scope

For purposes of this Executive Order, the term “priority chemicals” includes substances and their breakdown products including PBTs, very persistent and very bioaccumulative (vPvB) chemicals, carcinogens, mutagens or reproductive toxins (CMRs), neurotoxins, and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs)  that have been demonstrated by biomonitoring studies to be present in human tissues and fluids, that are produced in high volumes or used in ways that may result in high exposures, or that pose generally equivalent concerns as determined by the state’s qualified experts or by a body considered to be authoritative by such experts.  Priority chemicals include, but are not limited to, toxic substances listed by the DEP in its programs that address toxic releases, air toxics and water toxics.  For purposes of this Executive Order, “consumer products” means items or materials sold or distributed for residential or commercial use, but excludes those intended exclusively for industrial use.

d. Procedures

The Task Force shall meet at times and places called by the chair.  Under the direction of the Deputy Commissioner, the DEP shall provide staffing assistance to the Task Force. Significant research by agency staff will occur at the discretion of agency staff and may need to be addressed within the Task Force’s proposed recommendations rather than within the duties of the Task Force.   The members of the Task Force shall serve without compensation.  The Task Force may accept staffing and other administrative or program support from outside sources as it deems appropriate to its duties.

e. Reports

The Task Force shall submit an interim report to the Governor by November 30, 2006 and a final report by October 1, 2007.  Each of these reports shall include recommendations, including proposed legislation, for safer chemicals policy development and consumer education and related information as required under Duties b.ii and b.iii in this section.  The Task Force shall also submit interim recommendations by November 30, 2006 and final recommendations by October 1, 2007 to the Maine Science and Technology Advisory Council on expanded research and development opportunities as required under Duties b.iv in this section. Upon submission of the final report and the final recommendations, the Task Force shall dissolve.

V. Costs of Implementation

State agencies will absorb the costs for their state staff to participate in the Task Force. The costs for implementing the tasks included in this Executive Order will be absorbed by the implementing agencies unless otherwise noted. The cost of implementing recommendations will be addressed as part of the recommendations.

Effective Date

The effective date of this Executive Order is February 22, 2006.

John E. Baldacci

Task Force Releases Final Report - December 2007

The Governor's Task Force to Promote Safer Chemicals in Consumer Products released its Final Report on December 17, 2007. The Task Force calls for a comprehensive chemicals policy; expanded consumer and retailer education; and establishing a Maine Innovation Economic Advisory Board.

Based on the best scientific evidence available and supported by leading Maine businesses such as InterfaceFABRIC and Tom’s of Maine, the report calls for practical, common-sense action to protect public health and the environment from the unnecessary use of toxic chemicals in everyday products.

The Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine applauds Governor Baldacci for his leadership and foresight in establishing a Task Force a year in advance of a wave of recalls of toxic toys and other children’s products that reveal gaping holes in the federal safety system for consumer products.

We strongly agree with the Task Force that the widespread use of toxic chemicals in products poses a serious threat to public health and environment, especially to those most vulnerable, including the developing fetus and young children.

The Task Force conclusions are well-documented and verified by authoritative testimony:
  • The federal safety system for chemicals in commerce is badly broken since known hazardous chemicals are still on the market and thousands more remain untested;
  • There are huge gaps in knowledge – neither the chemical industry or manufacturers are required to test chemicals for safety or disclose the chemicals added to products;
  • Investment is lagging in research and development of safer alternatives and green chemistry solutions that provide opportunities for economic development, e.g. the production of nontoxic bioplastics from Maine potatoes and other natural resources.
We strongly support the Task Force recommendation that Maine continue to lead by example in its state purchasing practices and in public policy development. We can’t afford to wait for the federal government to catch up with the advances being made at the state level across the country, in the European Union and elsewhere.

We strongly support the Task Force recommendation that Maine enact legislation to establish a comprehensive chemical policy to require safer substitutes to priority toxic chemicals in consumer products and to create incentives for safer alternatives.

Such a safer chemicals policy should, as recommended by the Task Force:
  • Identify and prioritize chemicals of high concern that are known to harm children’s development, cause cancer, cause genetic or reproductive damage, disrupt hormones, persist in the environment or build up in our bodies or wildlife;
  • Require manufacturers to disclose which chemicals are in consumer products; and
  • Require that safer alternatives be used whenever they are demonstrated to feasible.
We are confident that Governor’s Baldacci’s track record of success in protecting the health of Maine’s children and the environment from toxic chemicals will lead him to fully embrace his Task Force recommendations for a safer chemicals policy.

Governor Baldacci called for the creation of the Task Force on February 22, 2006 when he issued his Executive Order Promoting Safer Chemicals in Consumer Products. He charged the Task Force to survey knowledge related to promoting safer alternatives to chemicals of concern, develop recommendations for a more comprehensive chemicals policy that requires safer substitutes to toxic chemicals in consumer products, develop recommendations for expanded consumer education and public right-to-know to promote markets for safer alternatives, and develop recommendations for expanded research and development in Maine of safer alternatives.

The thirteen member Task Force was comprised of representatives with expertise in business, economic development, public health, the environment, labor, law and integrated pest management. Members include Stacie Beyer (Interface Inc.), Mark Dobrovolny (Tom's of Maine), Dr. Deborah Rice (Maine Center for Disease Control), Mike Belliveau (Environmental Health Strategy Center), Nick Bennett (Natural Resources Council of Maine), and Sharon Tisher, the representative of the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine. The Task Force is chaired by DEP Commissioner David P. Littell and staffed by the DEP's Environmental Public Health specialist Ginger Jordan-Hillier.

The Task Force heard presentations and engaged in productive discussions with a wide range of experts on chemicals information, regulation and policy, including Mark Catlin, SEIU Education and Support Fund; Stephanie Publicker, National Library of Medicine's NIH-NLM Household Products Database; Mark Sanderson and Elpi Karalis of Environment and Health Canada; Dr. Michael Wilson, Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, University of California, Berkeley; Kenneth Cook, Environmental Working Group; and Dr. Tom Green, IPM Institute of North America.

Early on in its work, the Task Force found major inadequacies in the current system of federal regulation of Toxic Chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, and presented a number of recommendations for expanded education initiatives and expanded research and development of safer alternatives.

Since 2005, an interagency committee has been leading the way forward by integrating environmentally preferable procurement strategies into the State of Maine’s procurement process, with an ultimate goal of continually striving to improve human and environmental health. The committee, representing multiple state agencies, includes a toxicologist from the Board of Pesticides Control an Environmental Specialist from the Department of Environmental Protection and an employee health and safety representative working in cooperation with staff from the Department of Administrative and Financial Services. Procurement initiatives undertaken by the committee begin with the development of specifications and criteria that incorporate the latest science, as well as standards developed by nationally and internationally recognized 3rd party certification organizations such as Green Seal, and Leadership in Energy Efficiency and Design (LEED), among others.

The most current example of the committee’s successes is the recent Request for Quotation (RFQ) issued for General Cleaning Chemicals and “Upright” Dispensing Systems. This RFQ was issued to meet the normal purchasing requirements of the Central Warehouse, which supplies the Bureau of General Services, Property Management Division. The newly developed specifications and criteria require that vendors must meet specific environmentally preferable guidelines including: Green Seal GS-37 certification or an equivalent certification from an independent laboratory that certifies products for compliance with the GS-37 standards; dispensers must be tamper proof and should be self contained; chemical containers must be removable for storage in locked cabinets; and chemicals must be dispensable from the unit and must only be dispensed in concentrations adequate enough to achieve the proper water/chemical dilution rates.

Products provided by the selected vendor are being pilot tested in the Cross Office Building for a three month period. Once the Property Management Division has determined whether the products meet the requirements of the RFQ a determination will be made to continue further contracting. Once a vendor has been selected the janitorial product line will be extended to the 34 buildings currently serviced by the Property Management Division. Existing janitorial supplies will be phased out before the new product line and dispensing systems are implemented. In sum, over 44 dispensing systems, meeting Green Seal GS-37 standards or equivalent standards will be installed in over 34 buildings.

The Department of Administrative and Financial Services will be posting RFQs incorporating Environmentally Preferable Procurement on their website by the fall of 2007 to serve as a public resource. Maine’s achievements in the area of EPP are being closely watched throughout the nation, with many other organizations hoping to learn from our efforts. Any public sector unit including municipalities, schools and county institutions can choose to use the State of Maine RFQs to purchase commodities including janitorial supplies.

Additional EPP specifications will be integrated into future RFQs for chemicals and other products. Comments and suggestions from vendors and other interested parties will be evaluated when new specifications and criteria are created and the specifications will reflect the lowest-risk products, balanced with application and economic performance. The EPP Committee, DAFS and its partner agencies are working to continually provide the most effective service with the lowest-risk to human and environmental health.
Maine's Departments of Environmental Protection and Labor Urge the U.S. Department of Labor to Require Disclosure of Scientific Evidence that a Chemical Persists and Bioaccumulates. (Download PDF of Official Letter, 78k).
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