Bangor Daily News
Kenny Shapiro

I’m concerned. I’ve been kept in the dark. There are toxic chemicals in our everyday products that could have serious health effects on my family, my friends and everyone else around me. Recently, I have heard a lot about phthalates — chemicals that can cause serious reproductive health disorders, early puberty in girls and asthma. What’s worse is that these chemicals seem to be in all kinds of products that I own, but it is so difficult to tell whether my products contain phthalates. Why? Corporations are not required to disclose whether or not their products have phthalates.

I know phthalates are in many lotions, shampoos, and other personal care products — especially ones that use some type of fragrance. Looking in my bathroom, I see “apricot-scented” face-wash, “arctic-charged” deodorant, “ocean-hinted” shampoo. Have I have been exposing myself to phthalates?

Even though I am a careful consumer, I need more information to keep myself safe. I can only imagine how the fear I feel must be compounded in mothers, responsible for keeping young children safe. Right now, our state has the power to do something about this. Maine residents have successfully brought a proposal to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, backed by more than 2,000 signatures, calling on them to gather information on which products contain phthalates.

I’m calling on Maine DEP to listen to these thousands of petitioners and to help fill this information gap. We have a right to know whether toxic chemicals are in our products.

Kenny Shapiro