As a mother, I am very concerned about toxic chemicals in our everyday products that could have serious health effects on my children. Recently, I have heard a lot about phthalates in the news — chemicals that can cause serious reproductive health disorders and asthma. What’s worse is that these chemicals seem to be in all kinds of products that I could own, but it is so difficult to tell whether my products contain hidden phthalates.

I know phthalates are in many lotions, shampoos or other personal care products, especially ones that use some type of fragrance. I’ve also heard phthalates are often in soft plastics or vinyl like in shower curtains. Perhaps they are even in my kids’ rain coats. Or in the laundry detergent we use.

The point is, even though I am a careful consumer, I need more information in order to keep my kids safe. I’m calling on Maine legislators to help fill this information gap by getting the largest manufacturers to report their use of phthalates in household products.

Rani SheafferHallowell