June 18, 2018
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The science of being governor of Maine

By Renee Ordway, Special to the BDN

I apologize if this seems a bit rushed, but my damn estrogen levels seem to be soaring and it took me longer than normal to shave my beard this morning.

For a moment I thought I might give Dr. Dora Anne Mills a call to find out what I might do to curb this estrogen explosion and its resulting unwanted hair growth on my chin.

She, of course, was fired this week and was off skiing with her family, so I didn’t call her.

But fear not, middle-aged women of Maine battling pesky unwanted facial hair. Gov. Paul LePage has found the answer.

Undoubtedly because he is a man of science, he reads the science and relies on it in order to set good and effective public policy.

And to think so many of us had wasted time believing the other science, which told us it was the lowering of estrogen levels that occur around and during menopause that causes unwanted facial hair.

We can only hope that the medical community took notice this week of LePage’s wise and oh-so-public revelation that indeed it is actually the reverse.

In case you missed it, last week, in response to a question about a bill that would ban bisphenol-A, a common and controversial chemical additive found in hard plastics, LePage told reporters: “If you take a plastic bottle and put it in the microwave and you heat it up, it gives off a chemical similar to estrogen. And um, … so the worst case is some women may have little beards, but we don’t want to do that.”

OK. Let’s go with that, Gov. LePage. I mean it’s wrong, but let’s just go with this science that you’re touting.

Certainly little beards on women may not be reason enough to ban bisphenol-A, but hold on just one minute, sir. Have you read what increased estrogen levels could do to you and the other men folk?

Increased risk of prostate cancer is just one side effect mentioned, but did you know it could also affect your physique? That’s what the science I read said.

There’s also a nasty little nugget in there about low libido, poor motivation, loss of muscle mass, increased belly fat and breast development.

It’ll take more than a good pair of tweezers to fix that.

Of course, I don’t know whether bisphenol-A should be banned or not. I admit up front to not having studied “the science” thoroughly enough to form an opinion on whether the additive poses a significant risk to our health or not.

The intent here is not to say one way or the other.

See, I’m easily distracted and I kind of stopped listening when you talked about the science proving that increased levels of estrogen promote facial hair growth in women.

Because you see, Governor, some of us may not know a lot about bisphenol-A, but there are a lot of us ladies who know a thing or two about estrogen, and the loss of it as we age, and unwanted facial hair, and belly fat and mood swings.

You better have your science straight before you wade into those waters.

Of course, if you and your staff look hard enough you can probably actually find some scientific research that supports your belief that high estrogen levels equal facial hair growth in women.

I mean, that’s science, right? It can be twisted and turned and data can be manipulated to support nearly any theory or suggestion if you search hard enough.

I suppose that sort of stuff will come up in any future arguments regarding the safety of bisphenol-A.

But just in case you are right and the only real issue with bisphenol-A is its higher levels of estrogen, you might want to rethink heating up those leftovers in the microwave.

I mean you are, after all, “the new sheriff in town,” as you referred to yourself last week. The one ready to tell the president of the United States to go to hell and the NAACP to kiss your butt.

Belly fat, low libido and man breasts won’t go a long way to help that image.

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