I urge Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King to oppose the nomination of Dr. Nancy Beck to chair the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This would be a terrible appointment with significant impacts on the health and safety of Maine children and families.

Throughout her career, Beck has acted to oppose and weaken standards for toxics. She was a senior executive at the powerful chemical industry lobbying group American Chemistry Council, that has opposed Maine’s strong laws protecting children and the environment from toxics. While serving in the Trump administration she remains an advocate for the chemical industry and not the public. In one example, after a stint at the Environmental Protection Agency, Beck was detailed to the Council of Economic Advisers from which she pressured EPA to further water down federal PFAS regulations — that she already had a hand in weakening.

Maine has unfortunate experience with PFAS, a broad class of dangerous and pervasive chemicals found in many consumer products including nonstick pans and raincoats, and that have contaminated water, soil and sewage sludge. The federal government has failed to act for years, and at Beck’s urging that isn’t changing.

Instead, state and local governments have expended millions of dollars to test for and clean up contamination; people and farm animals have been exposed; and the underfunded and understaffed Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention has had to take a leadership role addressing the situation. If not for the pandemic and consequent sudden halt to the Maine Legislature, legislators would likely have voted on new policies to protect our drinking water and food from PFAS.

If confirmed to lead the CPSC, Beck would have considerable power to damage public health and consumer protections for years to come. Maine’s senators need to say no to Beck now.

 

Sharon Anglin Treat
Hallowell

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