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Maine: Diseases caused by toxic chemicals are costing state

Posted by Safer States on Feb 9, 2009

Maine contaminant caused disease Safer chemicals save money and lives. It’s no secret that exposure to toxic chemicals can lead to expensive chronic disease and disability. It’s a burden shared by every family, every worker, and every business in Maine. Now we know that Maine’s economy is also sickened by the costs of these preventable diseases.

According to a University of Maine report, Maine’s share of the economic costs of just four chemical-caused illnesses is a staggering $380 million a year.

That’s over $300 per person or $1,300 per child in Maine. And it equals the economic output of Maine’s forestry, fishing, and hunting industries combined. What’s even more concerning is that these four illnesses are just the tip of the iceberg – the total cost of exposure to toxic chemicals is undoubtedly much higher.

Imagine what we could do with $380 million a year. The fact is, these costs are completely preventable. Now that we know the stakes in such vivid economic terms, we must redouble our efforts to get dangerous chemicals out of our everyday consumer products. Safer alternatives to toxic chemicals already exist and should be substituted when they are available.

This study confirms why the Kids-Safe Products Law sponsored by Speaker Pingree and passed by the Maine Legislature in 2008 is so important to Maine families and Maine’s economy. We urge Maine lawmakers and state agencies to move swiftly to implement the Kid-Safe Products Law and make sure every Maine family has a home free of toxic chemicals.

We don’t have to choose between good health, a clean environment, and a strong economy. They go hand in hand. Investing in the research and development of safer alternatives is good for our children and good for our economy. In fact it’s an investment we can’t afford NOT to make.

Related news stories:

Portland Press Herald Study: Contaminant-caused diseases costly

Bangor Daily News: Childrens illnesses from pollutants cost Mainers $380 million

This blog post was written by Michael Belliveau, Executive Director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, on behalf of the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine.

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