Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Maine Chamber Misstates Kid-Safe Law

No surprises here. From the Maine Small Business Coalition today:
 AUGUSTA – Opponents of the Kid-Safe Products Act (KSPA), and the Maine Chamber of Commerce in particular, are spreading myths and misinformation to encourage the Legislature to roll back the law.  The Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Natural Resources heard testimony today for and against a 2008 law aimed at helping parents and business owners protect children and consumers from toxic chemicals.  
The Kid-Safe Products Act, passed unanimously in the Maine Senate in 2008 and with an overwhelming majority in the Maine House, allows the Board of Environmental Protection to hear proposals to restrict hazardous chemicals from use in products to be used by and in frequent contact with children.  The Board of Environmental Protection and the Maine Center for Disease Control then make recommendations to the Legislature for consideration of hazardous chemicals to ban. 
In an email, the Chamber claimed that, under the current chemical law, medicines like aspirin will be targeted; chemicals banned by other countries will be automatically banned in Maine; chemical bans are based on unsupported claims by  special interests, not sound science; and that the law is unlike virtually any in the country.* 
Under KSPA, medicine is exempt, as are pesticides, industrial products, forest products, transportation, food and beverage packaging, retailers, telecommunication, etc.  KSPA makes no mention of an automatic chemical ban due to any other country’s ban.  New proposals for chemical bans come from a master list of known toxic agents, which are then evaluated by the state’s top chemical toxicity scientists at the State Toxicologist’s Office at CDC and Program Staff at the Department of Environmental Protection.  California, Minnesota and Washington join Maine in having similar toxic assessment programs to inform and protect consumers.** 
“The fact is, the Chamber is spreading lies and misinformation in order to roll back a law that is forward-thinking, based in science, and helps reduce exposure to toxic chemicals in children,” said Nate Libby, Maine Small Business Coalition director.  “Rather than fighting a law that protects children and consumers from toxic chemicals in everyday products, the Chamber should be advocating for measures to lower health care costs, lower energy prices and invest in infrastructure - what we really need to stimulate small business growth.” 
“The first chemical banned under the law was Bisphenol A.  Banning BPA from baby bottles doesn’t hurt Maine businesses,” said Bettyann Sheats, an Auburn business owner. “In fact, KPSA encourages innovation and as the market shifts to healthier products, there are all kinds of opportunities for new Maine-made products.  As a business owner, I know that KPSA is good for our children, good for business, and good for Maine.”