Maine Moms Ask Environmental Board To Strengthen BPA LAW
Environmental advocates have been trying for two years to convince the state to ban the chemical Bisphenol-A or BPA from all kids products in Maine.Thursday, more than a dozen mothers from all over the state turned in a petition to the Department of Environmental Protection asking for its blessing to expand Maine’s ban on BPA.Maine’s current law only bans the use of BPA in reuseable containers like sippy cups and baby bottles. Those gathered in Augusta Thursday want the law to go farther, saying there’s now safer alternatives to BPA. “Specifically we need to get this hormone havoc chemical out of infant formula, baby formula, and toddler food,” said Environmental Health & Strategy Center President Mike Belliveau. Ultimately the Board of Environmental Protection will rule on the change. They’re expected to weigh heavily the recommendation from the Department of Environmental Protection.Their petition only needed 150 signatures for the Board of Environmental Protection to consider the rule change. They dropped off more than 800 to DEP commissioner Patricia Aho. “Thank you all very much. Especially all of you who have come,” Aho told the crowd, including many small children, at the DEP headquarters in Augusta. “This is democracy in action and I’m glad you’re here and learning it at a very young age.”Aho says the DEP is moving swiftly to take action against companies that are slow to comply with Maine’s current BPA law. “Right now we are working with nine different companies and different levels of compliance and enforcement actions against them,” Aho told reporters.Annie Colaluca, a mother from Waterville who has been fighting against BPA since the beginning of the campaign, was encouraged by the Aho’s reaction. “It’s empowering as a mom and a citizen that when we show up in numbers that we an get people to listen and I think that’s important,” Colaluca said Thursday. “It’s important for our kids to see that we might just be moms, but we can get out and make a difference.”The matter of BPA is now in the hands of the Board of Environmental Protection, a body mostly appointed by Governor LePage. LePage has said in the past he doesn’t think the scientific evidence proves whether BPA or the safer alternatives are harmful or not. The governor drew widespread criticism on the issue of BPA when he made the comment that the “worst case is some women may have little beards.”LePage spokesperson Adrienne Bennett said Thursday the governor hasn’t made up his mind one way or another on BPA. Bennett says LePage will let the science drive his decision on whether or not to support a ban of BPA in Maine. “The governor supports scientific evidence which is conclusive: however, there is not yet a consensus among scientists about BPA,” Bennett said Thursday. “Additionally, we are uncertain about the safety of BPA alternatives. It is dangerous to let so many unknowns drive public policy.”The people here say now the science proves their case, and they’re hoping the governor will listen. “It’s always dangerous to predict what the governor will do or say next,” Belliveau said. “We’re hopeful the science has always been on our side. The science 2 years later is even stronger.”Public hearings on the issue could be scheduled for as early as September.