Letter: Mainers need protection from everyday chemical

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What do a Republican legislator from Hollis and a mom from Portland have in common? They both have high levels of chemicals called phthalates in their bodies. Also known as “the everywhere chemical,” phthalates are found all around our homes, in vinyl shower curtains and kids rain coats as a chemical that softens plastics, and in personal care products disguised as fragrance.

Last week a new report was released by the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine that found levels, in the case of the Portland mom and Hollis legislator, higher than 90 percent of Americans tested by the CDC.

The study tested urine samples from 25 Mainers. All were found positive for at least five phthalates.

These Mainers want to know why these chemicals, which have been found to be hormone disruptors and linked to cancers, harm to the brain, abnormal genital development in males, asthma, and even learning disabilities, are not labeled as such on products they use. Phthalates have also been linked to increased risk of prostate and testicular cancer.

Children are among those at highest risk, and with a lifetime ahead of them, the costs associated with impaired health increase over time. Prevention is the key, but is nearly impossible if we don’t know where the chemicals are to avoid.

Much needs to be done by the state and federal governments to protect our health from everyday chemical exposures. We should all demand proper labeling for our health and the health of our families.

Karen A. D’Andrea, executive director
Physicians for Social Responsibility Maine Chapter