(NaturalNews) More than two thousand Mainers signed a petition asking Governor Paul LePage's administration to disclose the use of harmful chemicals on product labels, according to a report by CentralMaine.com.
Supporters, including parents, doctors and business owners, rallied in support of a rule change that would require manufacturers to list their use of four kinds of phthalates in products. Advocates held a rally and then a press conference on the toxic chemicals late last month in Augusta, Maine.
"The science is clear that phthalates are harmful," said Tracy Gregoire of the Learning Disabilities Association. "We know they're lurking in products that we use every day, but we have all been left in the dark. There is simply no way to shop ourselves out of this problem."
Phthalates are a group of chemicals used as plasticizers in hundreds of products to soften and make plastic products more flexible
They're commonly found in detergents, vinyl flooring, adhesives, plastic clothes, automotive products and beauty products like soaps, shampoos, hairsprays and nail polish.
The CDC says the human effects of exposure to low levels of phthalates are unknown, but some studies have illustrated reproductive complications in lab animals, leading some to suggest that they act as endocrine disruptors in people.
As many of you already know, endocrine disruptors can interfere with hormone activity, disrupting the production, release, transport, metabolism and elimination of the body's natural hormones.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is an example of a well known endocrine disruptor that's been linked to breast cancer, and many other cancers, reproductive problems, obesity, early puberty and heart disease.
Phthalates have been known to initiate cell death in testicular cells, causing them to die prematurely
The petition submitted by the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine is asking the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to add four types of phthalates to a "high-priority" list of chemicals regulated under Maine's Kid-Safe Products Act.
More than 50 proponents of the initiative chanted, "people have a right to know," with some of them holding products known to contain the toxins.
"Chemicals can wreak havoc with our children's health," said Gregoire. "We all have the right to know which products contain dangerous chemicals like phthalates."
The petition calls for the DEP to elevate four of the already seven listed phthalates that have been flagged for safety concerns. Elevating the phthalates would mandate the chemicals be listed on products and possibly restricted later down the road.
Advocates quickly lined up to fill out sign-up sheets in hopes of being able to speak on the matter during the public hearing. Opponents were nowhere to be found, and industry groups declined requests for comment.
The American Chemical Council, which opposed the labeling, states on their website that studies claiming phthalates are harmful are inconclusive and maintain that the plasticizers used in commercial products do not pose a risk to human health at "typical exposure levels."
The DEP will be accepting public comments on the matter until Sept. 29, after which the state will have 120 days to decide whether or not to enforce the proposed measures.