Environmental Health Strategy Center changes name

Sun, 11/15/2020 - 10:15am

PORTLAND — After 20 years leading state and national campaigns for safe food, safe drinking water, and toxic-free products, the Portland-based organization, Environmental Health Strategy Center, has changed its name to Defend Our Health

Executive Director Mike Belliveau noted, in a news release, that the organization’s mission of creating a healthy environment for all has not changed.

“But with this rebranding comes renewed energy to engage with more communities, in more places,” Belliveau said. “In Maine and with partners from coast to coast, we can defend health by listening to and amplifying voices from communities disproportionately affected by toxic pollution and hazards.”

Defend Our Health continues to persuade decision-makers in government and industry to take action, in Maine and nationally. The organization advocates for removing toxics from food and consumer products, fights for clean drinking water, and works to find sustainable solutions that use renewable materials to reduce plastic waste and fight climate change.

Since its founding in 2002, the organization has won first-in-the-nation laws in Maine that are models for the nation, according to the news release. 

  • Leading the national Toxic-Free Food Campaign to end the use of toxic chemicals in food processing, packaging, and preparation, Defend Our Health arranged food testing that blew the whistle on toxic phthalates in boxed macaroni and cheese, news reported worldwide. 
  • Last year, after drawing national attention to a Maine dairy farm ruined by toxic PFAS that contaminated water and cows’ milk, Defend Our Health won the nation’s first state law banning phthalates and PFAS from food packaging. The organization is pushing now to phase out all uses of PFAS statewide, and for a law that makes polluters pay for damages.
  • In 2016, the organization won two state-level safe drinking water laws that expanded testing and created funding for low-wealth families to treat arsenic-contaminated well water. It’s Defend Our Health’s goal to ensure safe drinking water for more than 40 million Americans by closing the loophole in the Safe Drinking Water Act that exempts household wells from legal protection.
  • Maine’s Kid Safe Product Act, a 2008 victory, limits harmful chemicals in children’s products and has led to reform in other states and at the federal level. 


New to the organization is its burgeoning climate campaign to defend the health of people and the planet by working to end single-use disposable plastic packaging and advance renewable plant resources as a raw material for durable bioplastics. 

Visit the new website – DefendOurHealth.org – for more information on Defend Our Health's current work to create solutions for a toxic-free tomorrow.


Defend Our Health believes all people have a right to safe food and drinking water, healthy homes, and products that are toxic-free and climate friendly. Armed with a strategy to forge diverse coalitions, empower the grassroots, and drive marketplace change, Defend Our Health is passing precedent-setting legislation at every level of government and impacting corporate chemical policy to protect public health.