A public hearing before Maine s Dept. of Environmental Protection was urged this week to go beyond
even the hyper-precautionary federal Environmental Protection Agency by regulating several types of the plastic chemical group, phthalates, which soften and flexibilize PVC plastics.
The crusade and hysteria against phthalates has been an ongoing green focus for over a decade now, and the activist campaign has accomplished many of its unscientific and consumer-unfriendly goals over the past few years: in 2008, Congress enacted the ill-named Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, which banned several and severely restricted some other phthalates, based on nothing other than consumer concern and flawed junk science studies. Recently, the Chronic Hazards Advisory Panel (CHAP) echoed that law by recommending that the temporary bans and restrictions be made permanent. Maine is now poised to take the lead among states in issuing specific-phthalate-related regulation which will result in regulating phthalates right off the market.
ACSH s Dr. Gil Ross had this comment: The usual collection of chemophobic activists posing as public health experts and consumer groups submitted comments to the Maine DEP, all concerned about alleged links to phthalates of a panoply of unproven and feared health effects. They are sufficiently clueless regarding the ways in which phthalates differ from each otherthe significant differences between different types of phthalates, both in structure and in physiological interactions in the body. No one can dispute that phthalates are present in many consumer products and are indeed detectable in our bodies yet, as quoted in the news item itself:
While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found widespread phthalate exposure among Americans, it cautions that the health effects remain unknown. Finding detectable amounts of phthalates in the body doesn t mean that exposure will harm a person s health, according to the CDC.
Despite this caveat, all of the 70 speakers at the DEP hearing called for tighter restrictions on phthalates: a kangaroo court, it seems. Too bad, because phthalates are safe and useful, as we here at ACSH have been asserting for 14 years.