Top Environmental Medicine Scientist to Reveal Toxic Chemical Research Findings to Maine Legislators

Environmental Health Strategy Center
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Presentation on Toxic Chemicals in Food Additives Open to the Public this Morning

AUGUSTA, Maine, March 20, 2019—At an information session open to the public this morning, an internationally recognized environmental health expert will brief Maine legislators on research findings related to health-harming toxic chemical food additives that include PFAS, a class of chemicals currently making headlines in Maine and worldwide.

PFAS chemicals (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are now in Maine's news headlines. Health advocates began publicly calling yesterday for wide testing by the state of farmland potentially contaminated by PFAS through sludge spread on fields, over decades, as fertilizer. Earlier this month, Governor Janet Mills signed an Executive Order creating a Governor’s Task Force to mobilize state agencies and other stakeholders to review the prevalence of PFAS in Maine and put forward a plan to address it.

Leo Trasande, MD, MPP, will address Members of the Maine Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee at a science briefing open to the public. It begins at 10 a.m., today, March 20, in Room 216 of the Burton M. Cross Building of the Maine State House. Audio livestream here:

An internationally renowned leader in children’s and environmental health, Dr. Trasande is the lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statement last year calling for urgently needed reforms to the U.S. food additive regulatory process and suggesting that some currently allowed chemicals may best be avoided—especially for children. 

He is the Jim G. Hendrick, MD Professor, Director of the Division of Environmental Pediatrics and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Pediatrics at NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Trasande also serves on the faculty of the NYU Wagner School of Public Service and the NYU College of Global Public Health.

His research focuses on the impacts of chemicals on hormones in human bodies. He also has led the way in documenting the economic costs for policy makers of failing to, proactively, prevent diseases of environmental origin.

Exploring how toxic chemicals create lifelong harm for children, Dr. Trasande’s recently released book is titled, “Fatter, Sicker, Poorer: The Urgent Threat of Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals to Our Health and Future . . . and What We Can Do About It.”

For Maine’s legislators, Dr. Trasande will review the scientific evidence of potential harm to children’s health when they are exposed to toxic chemicals used in food packaging, and will also highlight gaps in federal scientific oversight. He will reveal the most recent research findings related to currently used food packaging chemicals such as PFAS, ortho-phthalates, and perchlorates.

“Dr. Trasande will provide legislators with the scientific, fact-based information necessary to create policies that will protect Maine children and families,” said Sarah Woodbury, state advocacy director for the Maine-based Environmental Health Strategy Center. “We are grateful to Committee Chair Senator Brownie Carson (D-Harpswell) and Representative Ralph Tucker (D-Brunswick) for making this opportunity possible for legislators to learn more about the dangers of toxic chemicals in food and the importance of this environmental health issue.”

Although this science briefing will not directly address policy gaps and how to fill them, Rep. Jessica Fay (D- Raymond) is sponsoring related legislation, “An Act to Protect the Environment and Public Health by Reducing Toxic Chemicals in Packaging.” 

The Environmental Health Strategy Center is a nonprofit organization that works for a world where all people are healthy and thriving in a safe environment. Everyone deserves access to safe food and drinking water, and toxic-free, climate-friendly products. Visit for more information.