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. 

Congress passed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) forty years ago to prevent harm to pregnant women, babies, workers, and other vulnerable groups from dangerous chemicals in everyday products. But the law was fundamentally flawed from the start. TSCA has failed so badly that even asbestos, which still kills 10,000 Americans annually, could not be banned. In fact, few chemicals have been tested for safety. A national leader in the decade-long campaign to overhaul TSCA, the Environmental...+ Read more
Safe drinking water
The crisis in Flint, Michigan is sparking important conversations nationwide about access to safe drinking water, free of toxic chemicals that impact brain development. Flint’s contaminated public water supply was in violation of safety standards established by the 1974 U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act, the law responsible for federal investigation into Michigan leaders’ sluggish response to the crisis. But that law does nothing to protect the 1.5 million U.S. households with children and families...+ Read more
In a vote that would make the Grinch proud, the U.S. Senate passed a bill at the height of the holiday shopping season that would make it harder to protect children from imported toys containing toxic chemicals. The Senate bill to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976 must be reconciled with a much different bill approved in June by the U.S. House of Representatives, before final TSCA reform can become law. American families expect assurance of product safety. But the Senate...+ Read more
According to the recent Bloomberg article, “Biomaterials May Be Next Growth Engine for Paper Industry,” pulp and paper companies world-wide are becoming more profitable by going biobased. Instead of traditional writing papers and newsprint, companies are finding new, high-value uses for wood. There is a global shift from traditional pulp and paper products to biomaterials – advanced packaging, biobased chemicals, advanced biofuels, and other high-profit products. So what about Maine’s pulp and...+ Read more
U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, recently announced a $3.5 million provision in the 2016 Agriculture Appropriations bill for forest products research. A portion of this funding will support University of Maine research to improve innovation and maintain a sustainable and globally competitive domestic forest products industry. According to Senator Susan Collins in her press release , “Maine has a thriving agricultural sector, and this bill...+ Read more
The LEGO Group is investing approximately $148 million for a new LEGO Sustainable Materials Center to be established between 2015 and 2016 with a goal of replacing current materials with sustainable alternatives by 2030. LEGO pieces (they’re called “elements”) are currently made from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) resin. LEGO makes 6,000 tons of ABS plastic each year for its products . According to LEGO, “there is no common definition of a sustainable material,” but perhaps LEGO should...+ Read more
EHSC's Frances Jimenez works with a Blue Hill resident to take a water sample
On a rainy July afternoon, while many stayed indoors, three determined individuals set out on the streets of Blue Hill to educate citizens of the dangers of arsenic and other toxic chemicals that are common in private drinking water wells. Equipped with donated water test kits, discount test coupons, and factsheets, EHSC’s Emily Postman and volunteer interns Frances Jimenez and Jack Martell went door to door distributing information and discussing the importance of getting a drinking water test...+ Read more
Earlier this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized this year’s winners of the Presidential Green Chemistry Award . Green chemistry (also known as sustainable chemistry) means designing processes and research in a way that minimizes the use and generation of hazardous substances. In other words, is there a way to make this without using hazardous chemicals and generating hazardous waste? It’s no surprise that several of the winners this year are biobased manufacturers,...+ Read more
You can’t taste it, smell it or see it, but what you don’t know can hurt you. An estimated 150,000 rural Mainers are slowly being poisoned by arsenic in their drinking water drawn from private wells. This silent public health crisis robs our youth of intelligence and causes skin, bladder and lung cancer. Yet only about 45% of Maine households with wells have tested their drinking water for arsenic and other health-threatening contaminants from natural sources such as uranium, manganese, radon and fluoride. Statewide, as many as 1 in 5 wells may produce water that’s unsafe to drink, although in some “hot spots” the danger rate is much higher.+ Read 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