Environmental connections to public health >>
EWG's BPA Petition Delivered to Maine Governor
By Bobbie Manning, EWG Environmental Health Outreach Coordinator
Maine just became the ninth state to ban the use of bisphenol A in baby products.
Come January 1, 2012, Maine babies will be protected from this potentially harmful endocrine disrupting chemical. The one man who was standing in the way - Governor Paul LePage, who earned national attention by trivializing health risks of BPA, allowed the ban to become law without his signature. As LePage infamously said,
"There hasn't been any science that identifies that there is a problem. The only thing that I've heard is if you take a plastic bottle and put it in the microwave and you heat it up, it gives off a chemical similar to estrogen. So the worst case is some women may have little beards."
As my colleague Alex Formuzis has pointed out, Governor LePage had his hormones confused. But we did find a possible explanation for his opposition to the bill: one of his former aides now represents the toy industry and drafted a list of laws and regulations the governor should consider axing - including the ban on BPA. Despite Governor LePage's controversial remark, earlier this month, the GOP-controlled Maine House of Representatives wasted little time in passing the BPA bill by a vote of 145 to 3, with overwhelming bipartisan support. A week later, it was the Maine Senate's turn. This time the vote was unanimous.
Because restricting BPA is a priority issue for EWG and our supporters, we decided to send Governor LePage the facts and a message. More than 19,000 concerned citizens signed our petition and encouraged LePage to re-examine the real science about BPA. And on April 14, an EWG supporter from Maine and her son (pictured above, right) delivered the EWG petition - and a strong message to Governor LePage's office.
We're not sure what "science" has convinced Gov. LePage that BPA isn't a "problem" but his views are certainly at odds with the hundreds of published studies that have linked the toxic chemical to many serious and costly illnesses, including breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, obesity, birth defects, neurological disorders, heart disease and impotency. These are the same studies that have persuaded eight other states, Canada, the European Union and even China to restrict the use of BPA in baby products out of concern over its potent affects on human development.
It has always been EWG's position that reducing harmful chemical exposures is not a Democratic or Republican issue. It is a children's health issue. Though Governor LePage didn't sign the bill into law, the children of Maine will still be protected from this dangerous toxic chemical thanks to the overwhelming support of the Maine legislature.
Don't live in Maine but want to reduce your BPA exposures? Read EWG's tips.