Environment

toxic chemicals, toxic chemical exposure, environmental pollution
Robert F. Bukaty/AP
State Rep. Hannah Pingree of Maine

States Take a Stand Against Toxic Chemicals

July 28, 2008 06:59 AM
by Lindsey Chapman
The presence of toxic chemicals in consumer products has sparked legislative action and calls for change around the country.

30-Second Summary

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Maine may be setting an example for the rest of the nation in terms of regulating chemical products.

The state has enacted a law allowing it to thoroughly identify and investigate the presence of potentially hazardous substances in household goods. The sale of some products could even be banned.

The legislation was sponsored by Hannah Pingree, the majority leader in Maine’s House of Representatives, after she found out she had dangerously high levels of substances like arsenic and mercury in her system.

“Maine is sending a clear message to the federal government that where they have failed, states will act,” Pingree stated.

Rep. Joe Barton of Texas urged caution in regulating chemical substances. He said rules should be based on “repeatable science” conducted with “good laboratory practices and sound scientific research principles.

He suggested that lawmakers be careful not to “ban good products based on bad science.”
 
Several chemicals found in consumer products have attracted national, and even international, attention recently.

The presence of bisphenol A in baby bottles is just one example. Phthalates have also come under close scrutiny for their potential effects on human health.

States may be trying to “fill a regulatory void left by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),” according to Reuters.

Since 1976, the EPA has only banned five of 82,000 chemicals that are harmful to people; the last chemical was asbestos in 1989.
 
Lawmakers in Maryland, Nebraska and Hawaii are considering bills similar to Maine’s.

Headline Link: ‘Maine wages fight against toxic chemicals’

Opinion & Analysis: Thoughts on chemical products

Related Topic: Chemical exposure

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