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We believe that all Maine people have a right to a healthy environment where we live, work and play.
We envision a future free of exposure to harmful chemicals in our air, water or food.
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This report is a collaborative effort of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition, a campaign dedicated to protecting American families from toxic chemicals. The report incorporates a significant body of peer-reviewed science on chemicals and health. Download the report.

 

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Maine Parents to be Kept in the Dark About Use of BPA in Food Packaging

Governor LePage found fourteen Senate Republican’s today to side with him against a new BPA bill and that was enough to sustain his veto of LD 1181, “An Act to Further Strengthen the Protection of Pregnant Women and Children from Toxic Chemicals”.

The bill, which would have shed light on use of BPA in food packaging and protected Maine children from chemicals that cause cancer, learning and developmental disabilities, and reproductive damage, fell three votes short, garnering a vote tally of 19-14, with 22 needed to override the Governor’s veto.

Governor LePage has made a point of consistently opposing progress to protect Maine children from BPA and other toxic chemicals. Following his infamous comment that all BPA could do is give women “little beards” in 2011 the Governor unsuccessfully tried to overturn a phase out of BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups, his DEP was then slow to act to implement additional BPA rules, and opposed a proposal to phase out BPA from baby and toddler food packaging.

We are disappointed that today many of the Governor’s fellow Republicans in the Senate stood by him rather than Maine parents who feel strongly that further action is needed to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals like BPA. A poll conducted this spring found 79% of Mainers support state legislation to get BPA out of canned foods and to require manufacturers to report on their use of chemicals of high concern in everyday products.

Senator Saviello (R- Franklin) led the opposition to the bill in committee and on the senate floor on behalf of the chemical industry coalition. He swayed the vast majority of his republican colleagues to vote with industry and the Governor rather than with Maine parents and physicians.

Deserving of recognition is Senator Flood (R-Kennebec) who supported amendments in the appropriations committee that eliminated a fiscal note from the bill and was the lone Republican among the 19 Senators voting to override the Governor’s veto today.

LD 1181 had been significantly modified through the legislative process. The amended bill would have taken small, reasonable steps to generate information about which products sold in Maine contain dangerous chemicals.

The Governor's veto message misrepresented what the bill proposed. He invented impacts that wouldn't exist and ignored the two modest requirements of the bill. LD 1181 required two simple actions: (1) manufacturers with more than $1 billion in annual food sales would report to the State on which canned foods contain the hormone disrupting toxic chemical BPA, and (2) two years from now, the State could expand its requirement that manufacturers of children's products report to the State on which products contain any of 49 Chemicals of High Concern.

Despite the Governor’s assertions, there was no unfunded mandate in the bill as it required the Department of Environmental Protection to use its existing authority to assess fees on manufacturers that sell products in Maine that contain dangerous chemicals, which would have more than offset the minor costs imposed by the bill.

Posted on 7/9/2013 (Archive on 7/30/2013)

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