AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A coalition of parents, physicians, business leaders and legislators are calling on the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to add four chemical compounds to their priority chemical list.
"The science is clear that phthalates are harmful," stated Tracy Gregoire, Healthy children's Project Director with the Learning Disabilities Association of Maine. "We know they are lurking in the products we use everyday, but we have all been left in the dark."
Phthalates, which are found in many household and personal care products, have been linked to several medical problems according to State Senator and physician, Geoff Gratwick.
"Phthalate exposure is linked to birth defects, abnormal development of male sex organs, sperm damage, breast problems, learning and behavioral problems, obesity, asthma, allergies and much more," explained Sen. Gratwick.
That's why physician's organizations have joined with the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine to urge the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to add them to the priority chemical list under Maine's Kid-Safe Products Act. Doing so would require manufacturers to disclose which products the four phthalates are found in, information they say is difficult to come by.
"Think about all the things in your house that are made from soft plastics," said Paige Holmes, a concerned parent. "This is not a small problem."
Holmes was one of several Mainers who were recently tested for the presence of phthalates, and despite her best efforts to avoid exposure to them, high levels of the compounds were found in her body.
"Where is my exposure coming from? The most frustrating thing for me as a mother is not being able to answer that question," said Holmes. "Information about which products contain phthalates is almost non-existent."
The DEP will be accepting testimony on the issue until September 29th. Then the DEP will have 120 days in which to issue its decision.
Maine would become the first state to require manufacturers to disclose the presence of phthalates in products if the rule changes are adopted.