Nearly two years ago, I participated in a bio-monitoring study where my body was tested for the presence of toxic, endocrine-disrupting chemicals known as phthalates.

Since I thought I was doing a good job avoiding products that I suspected contained phthalates, I was shocked at my results. I had some of the highest levels in the group. This shock quickly turned to dismay as I thought about what could be lurking in my young daughters’ still developing bodies, and then anger as I was reminded that the information isn’t out there to avoid phthalates. Unfortunately, I have no more information today than I did two years ago.

Avoiding exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals such as phthalates is so important for the health of young girls like mine, and even more so for pregnant women, infants and toddlers. But unfortunately, every day that we do not have the information we need to avoid exposure, they are at risk for very serious problems including reproductive birth defects, lowered IQ, learning disabilities and asthma.

Thankfully, there is a solution. Rep. Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, has introduced a strong, bipartisan bill, L.D. 948, known as the “Healthy Kids Bill,” which will require manufacturers to give parents the information they need to protect their families.

Maine parents and pregnant women have a right to know which products contain hormone-disrupting chemicals such as phthalates. We shouldn’t have to worry about whether there are toxic chemicals in our shower curtains, lotions or in our kids’ backpacks or rain jackets. But we do worry because the companies that produce these products don’t have to tell us anything about the harmful chemicals they use.

I urge everyone who cares about the health of Maine kids to contact their state representatives and ask them to support the Healthy Kids Bill.

Megan Rice

Belgrade