Protecting Children From Toxins

In early September, parents, physicians, scientists, and health advocates gathered in Augusta to testify in support of a citizen-initiated rule to phase-out the use of the toxic chemical BPA (bisphenol-A) in baby and toddler food packaging.

This hearing before the Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) was the culmination of a six month coalition effort. In June of this year, a group of Maine moms delivered more than 800 petitions from Maine voters calling on the BEP to use their authority under Maine’s Kid-Safe Products Act to replace BPA in baby and toddler food packaging with safer alternatives that are readily available and affordable.

The proposed rule asks the Board of Environmental Protection to protect Maine kids by phasing-out the use of BPA in the packaging of foods intentionally marketed to children under the age of three. This includes infant formula, baby foods, and toddler foods like Campbell’s “Dora the Explorer” soup and other canned foods branded with images of cartoon characters that are marketed to preschoolers.

Several MPA members were among the two dozen Mainers who testified before the BEP in support of the rule, including Bettyann Sheats, a small business owner who presented the board with a letter signed by more than seventy businesses from around Maine on behalf of the Maine Small Business Coalition.

In response, the opposition could only offer a handful of testimonies from out of state lobbyists and industry representatives, without a single Maine doctor, parent or business owner speaking against the rule.

With such an overwhelming outpouring of public support and science on our side, MPA is looking forward to the BEP’s decision on the rule later this fall on this important issue of keeping our kids safe from toxic chemicals.