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Phthalates, part 2

A March 5 letter to the editor titled, “Exposed to phthalates” contains such serious misstatements that it demands a response. Many different compounds called phthalates are used to provide important performance characteristics in thousands of consumer products. As recently measured by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, actual exposures …

Maine scientist’s firing from deca panel draws ire

PORTLAND – An environmental advocacy group is charging that the removal of a scientist from Maine from an external review panel advising the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on fire retardants was an unwarranted bow to industry that illustrates an anti-consumer double standard. The Environmental Working Group said documents it obtained …

Plastic linked to behavioral problems in female toddlers

A chemical used widely in plastic bottles, metal cans and other consumer products could be linked to behavioral and emotional problems in toddler girls, according to a government-funded study published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics. After tracking 244 Cincinnati-area mothers and their 3-year-olds, the study concluded that mothers with …
A crushed Styrofoam coffee cup lays on the ground in New York, Feb. 15, 2013.

Ban on Styrofoam food containers in Portland headed to council vote; grocery bag fee on hold

PORTLAND, Maine — Portland city councilors will vote on a proposed ban on food and beverage containers made of polystyrene foam, but an ordinance to charge fees for plastic take-out bags at supermarkets and convenience stores remains on hold. As of Tuesday, no information was available on when the council …

LePage’s opposition to chemicals law draws criticism

AUGUSTA, Maine — It seemed like an issue upon which everyone could agree: protecting children from harmful chemicals in the products they use every day. Yet less than three years after the “Kid-Safe Products Act” passed the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support, the law has re-emerged as a political issue …

Group backs bills against toxins in toys

AUGUSTA – Concerned parents joined health and environmental organizations Thursday in urging state lawmakers to approve legislation aimed at removing potentially toxic chemicals from children’s toys and other household products. The recall of millions of lead-tainted toys last holiday season heightened public fears about the safety of imported toys found …

State identifies toxic chemicals

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday released a list of about 1,700 “chemicals of high concern”— substances that …

Feds wonder whether tiny materials play big health role

WASHINGTON — Federal regulators announced Thursday two actions that will aim to clarify the role that extremely small materials can play in items such as cosmetics and food production and packaging. The Environmental Protection Agency said that it will seek to determine whether nanomaterials in pesticide products can “cause unreasonable …

U.S. Food and Drug Administration agrees to determine safety of BPA

The Food and Drug Administration must come up with a decision by March 31 on whether to ban a chemical that’s widely used in the plastics and metal linings of food containers, according to a court settlement reached Wednesday between the agency and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The NRDC …

Maine takes aim at toxic chemicals

AUGUSTA, Maine — State regulators on Thursday added bisphenol A, or BPA, to Maine’s list of toxic chemicals, a first step toward a potential ban on the additive in children’s cups and other plastic reusable beverage containers sold in Maine. Members of the Board of Environmental Protection voted unanimously to …

FDA: BPA no longer allowed in baby bottles

WASHINGTON — The federal government announced Tuesday that baby bottles and sippy cups can no longer contain bisphenol-A, or BPA, the plastic chemical which has been subject to years of scientific scrutiny. The U.S. chemical industry’s chief association, the American Chemistry Council, had asked the Food and Drug Administration to …

Group pressures state to ban toxic products

AUGUSTA – Representatives of environmental and health organizations said Monday that 20 of 24 common children’s products they tested came back positive for a chemical increasingly under fire by health groups. Members of the groups used the report to keep the pressure on state legislators debating a bill that creates …

Bill targets trash with 10-cent plastic bag fee

AUGUSTA, Maine — A bill that would require Maine retailers to charge 10 cents for each plastic bag distributed to customers would eliminate tons of trash now going into landfills.

Supreme Court mostly upholds Obama bid to curb carbon emissions

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday trimmed the Obama administration’s power to curb greenhouse gases under a long-running air pollution program in a decision that means major facilities, including power plants and refineries, will go on being regulated as they have been. On a 7-2 vote, the court …
Most canned foods contain the chemical BPA, which is used as a liner to help protect the contents from spoiling. BPA also is added to many plastic products, including baby bottles and sippy cups.

BPA: What’s all the flap?

Bisphenol A, better knows as BPA, has received considerable attention in the media in recent years and in Maine in the past week.  You may be thinking this really doesn’t have a lot to do with you, or with nutrition.  Well, if you heat anything in the microwave, or use …

Board of Environmental Protection sets date for public hearing on BPA ban

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Board of Environmental Protection on Thursday scheduled a Sept. 6 public hearing on a rule change called for in a citizens petition that would ban the use of bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, in food packaging intended for toddlers and infants. The plastic additive, which …

Reusable shopping bags need monthly bath

Think globally, act locally. How many times have you heard that phrase and wondered, “What can I do?” What could make a difference in fossil fuel use, litter across the landscape and mountains …
In this April 2013 file photo, volunteer firefighters from Addison, Columbia Falls, Harrington and Jonesport were among the responders to a house fire on Indian River Road in Addison.

Blue Hill researcher to begin 15-year study of cancer risk in Maine firefighters

AUGUSTA, Maine — An environmental health scientist is about to embark on a 15-year study of Maine firefighters in an effort to investigate the long-term health effects of exposure to controversial flame-retardant chemicals. Dr. Susan Shaw, president and founder of the Blue Hill-based Marine Environmental Research Institute, announced the study …

Maine board weighs BPA bottle ban

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine could become the latest state to ban the sale of baby bottles and other reusable food and beverage containers made with bisphenol A under the first test of a relatively new …

Damon presses for rail tax break

WASHINGTON – Advocating for legislation to increase freight rail infrastructure, state Sen. Dennis Damon, D-Trenton, co-chairman of the Maine Legislature’s Transportation Committee, traveled to Washington last week to meet with Maine’s congressional delegation. As part of “Railroad Day on the Hill,” Damon was joined in Washington by more than 450 …