Environmental Board Discusses BPA Phase Out 

Maine’s environmental regulators are moving closer to making a decision on whether or not to ban the chemical BPA from the packaging on infant and toddler food sold in Maine.At Thursday’s meeting in Augusta, the board outlined the criteria they’ll use to reach their decision.Over the next few weeks they must decide if BPA exposure is harmful to children and other vulnerable groups like seniors.They also must decide if there’s safer alternatives available at a comparable cost.Those in favor say the public is overwhelmingly supportive of the rule changes. “The scientific and medical evidence presented at the public hearing is overwhelming. Showing that safer alternatives are available, that we can make this transition, and the breadth of the public support for the rule, the moms, the doctors, the Maine Medical Association supported the rule,” said Steve Taylor from the Environmental Health & Strategy Center. While opponents, like Ben Gillman who represents the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, call the measure unnecessary. “That’s why we set up a process, it was to create consistency. That’s why the legislature addressed this issue already,” Gillman said. “Instead of coming back every year and change it or address another chemical, there’s already a process in place to deal with chemicals.”The rule changes are the result of a grassroots campaign launched last summer.In June, petitions from Maine voters were submitted calling on board members to replace BPA in baby and toddler food packaging with safer alternatives that are readily available and affordable.