I recently learned that of the 25 Maine volunteers who were tested for detectable levels of phthalates in their bodies, all 25 tested positive. These chemicals are used in everyday plastic products that are linked to serious human health effects like asthma, birth defects, and learning disabilities. However, we don’t know which specific products are the sources of exposure.

Right now, as an individual consumer, I can’t completely protect myself from phthalates, because manufacturers do not have to disclose which products use these chemicals. I know phthalates are often in soft plastics or vinyl. My shower curtain and raincoat are just a few of these everyday items. Perhaps I have been exposing myself to phthalates with these products.

The good news is that Maine residents have brought a new proposal to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, backed by more than 2,000 petition signatures, asking them to adopt a rule that would gather information about phthalates in consumer products.

I know that the European Union is planning to phase out use of three phthalates in the next 10 months. I want to know that I can be proud of my country for protecting its citizens against the dangers these chemicals pose. So I’m asking Maine DEP to require manufacturers to disclose what specific products contain phthalates as a first step to protecting Mainers from unnecessary harm.

Michael Curran


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