Letter: Safe Chemicals Act deserves support

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As a pediatrician and father of a 4-year-old daughter, the health and well-being of children is forefront in my mind. It’s crucial to have common sense, science-based policies to protect children’s health. Maine’s Kid Safe Products Act and the phase-out of toxic BPA from children’s products are great examples. I thank state legislators for supporting these measures.

Now it’s Washington’s turn. The federal law that controls dangerous chemicals is so weak that it fails to protect children from harm. That law, the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, has needed an overhaul for years. Now a new bill, the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, is poised to fix it. It would eliminate the most dangerous chemicals from consumer goods and require chemical manufacturers to provide basic safety information on their products.

Hundreds of scientific studies prove that environmental toxins, including manufactured chemicals, contribute to developmental and behavioral problems, asthma and allergies, endocrine problems like diabetes and obesity, and childhood cancers. We know that carcinogens can pass from a pregnant woman into the developing fetus. And yet, TSCA fails to protect our children from toxic exposure. The Safe Chemicals Act will.

I strongly urge Sens. Snowe and Collins to stand up for Maine kids by co-sponsoring the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011.

Dr. Jeff Peterson