The Strategy Center Blog

Please read and share our latest thoughts on safer chemicals policy, products, health and disease prevention, biobased manufacturing and the green economy, environmental health and justice, and much more. 

Guess who approved the safety of all those chemicals that make up the latest stuff you just brought home from that big box retailer? Nobody. That’s right! Nearly 40 years ago, Congress first passed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). But the law proved toothless. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) couldn’t even ban asbestos, which still kills 10,000 Americans every year. Some 62,000 industrial chemicals in commerce were “grandfathered in” without a safety review or testing for health hazards. Only 5 have been partially regulated.+ Read more
As we celebrate the 4th of July, I don't have to reach very far to connect today's debate on chemical safety reform with the themes of freedom and independence. That's because right now, a bill before the US Senate would strip away an important right from state governments: the right to protect their own citizens from exposure to toxic chemicals. Let's back up for a moment. There is no doubt that TSCA, the current US law governing chemicals is outdated and ineffective, and requires reform...+ Read more
We agree with the Portland Press Herald’s recent article, “Biobased products seen as vital for Maine’s growth,” (6/21/15) which reported that Maine has the third-highest concentration of jobs in the “biobased products” industry, according to a recent USDA Report. The report is part of USDA’s campaign to promote the biobased products industry, which as the article points out, is just perfect for Maine, where we need to grow good manufacturing jobs using our abundant natural resources. The...+ Read more
So you finally put that new floor in. What a fine looking addition to your home. The kids love sliding around on it. Too bad your flooring might make your family sick. If it’s laminate, those simulated-wood floor tiles made of layered plastic, you might be breathing in formaldehyde, a common chemical irritant that triggers asthma and poses long term cancer risks. In a case that’s gotten national attention, Lumber Liquidators was exposed for selling laminate floor tiles that average up to six...+ Read more
At Environmental Health Strategy Center, we work for healthy products in a healthy economy. By replacing everyday products made from oil and natural gas with products made primarily from plants, we can cut our carbon footprint and ensure better environmental health. But is “biobased” always better? Not necessarily. In this article , Executive Director Mike Belliveau explores how even biobased can be toxic if the rules of green chemistry and sustainability aren’t followed.+ Read more
Moms and kids march in Washington DC to demand chemical safety reform
You may have noticed the hashtag that keeps popping up wherever there’s discussion about overhauling our national chemical safety law. #RealReform. Compared with the long-lived fight to fix the broken Toxic Substances Control Act, #RealReform is pretty new to the scene. That’s because we’ve spent over a decade getting Congress to pay attention to the need for a system that actually keeps Americans safe from exposure to toxic chemicals in consumer products. To help get TSCA reform on the...+ Read more
Vinyl flooring
The writing is on the wall. Or better yet, it’s on the floor. First Home Depot and then Lowe’s Hardware have made public pledges to phase out toxic phthalates from their vinyl flooring products in the next year and a half. This is incredibly good news for our health: phthalates are hormone-disrupting chemicals that wreak havoc on development. They’re guilty of producing birth defects in male genitalia, infertility, learning disabilities and behavioral problems, and harm to the immune system,...+ Read more
Plastic Cup
Earlier this year, Mike Belliveau, Executive Director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, spoke at the Midwest Bioeconomy and Safer Products Summit . His panel, “Phthalates: Science, Policy, and Safer Alternatives” focused on finding alternative solutions to harmful chemicals through green chemistry and biobased materials. Phthalates are a large group of chemicals that are widely used in consumer products but have been scientifically proven to be harmful to humans, especially children...+ Read more
Endocrinologist Dr. Jenny Carwile testifies in support of LD 948
We’re very proud of our state’s chemical safety law, the Kid Safe Products Act. We worked hard with parents, scientists, coalition partners and legislators from both sides of the aisle to get it passed in 2008, and to successfully protect the law from industry-led attacks in 2011. If you take a look around the country, you’ll find that Maine is just one of a small handful states with their own science-based systems to identify the worst chemicals in consumer products and take action to protect...+ Read more
Nanocellulose (also called cellulose nano fibers or CNF) are tiny structural building blocks derived from biomass (like trees and plants). They have great potential for conversion to lightweight, high-strength, advanced materials. Research in and commercialization of nanocellulose is growing quickly in the U.S. and globally, with a 1,000 ton per day pilot facility at the University of Maine and the nation’s first commercial nanocellulose plant recently opened at PaperLogic in Turners Falls,...+ Read more