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. 

At the Clean Water Rally at the Maine State House organized earlier this month by our friends at Maine Conservation Voters , I spoke alongside other advocates for clean and safe water about the urgent need for our legislators enact policies that will ensure all Maine families have access to safe drinking water. How would you feel as a mother learning that you have, unknowingly, been giving your children arsenic—a poison—when you hand them a glass of tap water? How are you supposed to know that...+ Read more
Investigators have begun to answer a growing consumer concern: How are toxic chemicals called phthalates (THAL-eights) getting into cheese and other dairy products? A new report released today by the Coalition for Safer Food Processing & Packaging may provide answers that won’t make cows, farmers, or consumers happy. The first-of-its-kind report confirms that some plastic and rubber farm equipment used to milk cows still contains these hormone-disrupting chemicals. “Shockingly, the most...+ Read more
Grabbing a sandwich or cheeseburger from your favorite deli for lunch shouldn’t mean exposure to toxic chemicals. But a new study has found that Americans who ate food away from home were exposed to higher levels of health-harming toxic chemicals called phthalates (THAL-eights) than those who ate at home. That’s alarming, but probably not surprising. Food prepared in restaurants, fast food chains, and cafeterias is served at the very end of a long industrial supply chain that makes it possible...+ Read more
Here in Maine, the official first day of spring sometimes feels more like optimism than reality. Ice covers our lakes and rivers, snow blankets our sidewalks, and the forecast warns of still more chilly days to come. But as we bundle up and keep a hopeful eye peeled for the first crocuses to emerge, it's nice to acknowledge the change of seasons with a thorough round of spring cleaning. Keeping the house clean and free of dust and grime is also an important way to keep toxic chemicals out of...+ Read more
Did you know that harmful substances such as triclosan, bisphenol A (BPA), flame retardants, heavy metals such as lead and cadmium, per- and polyfluoroalkyls (PFASs), phthalates, and solvents are oftentimes found in products specifically intended for use by infants? These chemicals of concern lurk in completely legal products, and are linked to increased risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity and other chronic health conditions, as well as adverse effects on development, reproduction, learning and...+ Read more
Our new organizer Sergio Cahueque braved the snowy February roads earlier this month and traveled from Portland to Milbridge, Maine, to share the importance of well water testing with the town’s immigrant community. His bilingual Spanish and English presentation on the dangers of arsenic-contaminated well water was offered in partnership with Mano en Mano, a community organization whose mission is to help farmworkers and immigrants thrive in Maine. Arsenic, which occurs naturally in some Maine...+ Read more
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) reiterated her support for the Renewable Chemicals Act of 2017 (S. 1980) in a recent letter to our executive director Mike Belliveau, redoubling her commitment to securing funding for programs to advance the renewable chemicals industry in Maine. "As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I continue to secure funding for programs to protect Maine's forest industries and environment because, as you know, Maine's economy depends in large part on the health...+ Read more
How did your favorite stores rank on our 2017 Retailer Report Card? You may have been pleased to see some popular retailers—like Apple, Walmart, and Ikea—make the grade when it comes to tackling toxic chemicals. But the report card shows that other popular companies like Trader Joe's, Ace Hardware, and Hannaford parent company Ahold Delhaize received a big fat "F" for failing to take any public action to protect their customers from toxics. You may have also wondered: How exactly did we come up...+ Read more
With its roots in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the nationwide movement for environmental justice—led by African-American, Latino, and Indigenous people and communities—is fighting to ensure that all families, no matter their race or how much money they make, have a safe and healthy place to live, work and play. At the Strategy Center, the fight for environmental justice is at the heart of our work. In Maine, the scourge of arsenic-contaminated well water disproportionately affects...+ Read more
Toxic chemicals that we’re working to protect kids and families from can be found at home, where too many families breathe in, eat, and drink them, unknowingly, as they go about their daily lives. The good news is there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your family—and the new year is the perfect opportunity to resolve to tackle toxics in your home. With these four “new year’s resolutions,” you’ll be well on your way toward a healthier home: Ditch plastic in the kitchen...+ Read more