States Move to Ban BPA, FDA Stays Silent

USA Today
February 18, 2010

States are moving to ban the chemical BPA from food and drink containers, primarily those meant for infants and toddlers, because of health
concerns. A dozen states are considering restrictions this year on
bisphenol A, an estrogen-like chemical used to harden plastics in
products such as bottles and cups. It is also in the linings of metal
cans, including infant formula, to help them withstand high
sterilization temperatures.

The Food and Drug Administration, which previously called BPA safe, announced last month that, in light
of new studies, it has “some concerns” about the chemical’s potential
effects on brain development of fetuses, infants and children. It did
not say BPA is unsafe.

“This announcement has added momentum to the efforts to restrict the uses of this dangerous chemical once and
for all,” says Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., author of a pending bill to ban
BPA from food and drink containers. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif..,
has a similar proposal in the Senate.

Activists, including the Environmental Working Group and the Natural Resources Defense Council,
cite studies that link BPA to breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes
and other health problems. Bans are “not necessary,” says Steve
Hentges, a BPA specialist at the American Chemistry Council, which
opposes the bans. He says research shows BPA is safe.

“It’s a ripe state issue,” says Adam Schafer, executive director of the
non-profit National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, because BPA is
not federally regulated. He says more parents are concerned and major
retailers have stopped selling baby bottles with BPA.

Last year, Connecticut and Minnesota passed the first state bans on BPA in food
and drink containers intended for children 3 and younger. Chicago and
Suffolk County, N.Y., took similar action. Canada became the first
country to ban BPA use in baby bottles.

“There’s growing public pressure but also lobbying to weaken or delay state efforts,” says
California’s Democratic Sen. Fran Pavley, who is pushing such a bill.

This year:

* In Washington state, both legislative chambers have passed bans on
BPA use in bottles and cups for babies and toddlers. The Assembly added
sports bottles, too.
* Wisconsin’s Senate approved banning BPA use in bottles and cups for children 3 and younger.
* In Oregon, a similar bill is headed to the Senate floor as early as today.

Bills are also pending in Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New
York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Washington, D.C., Schafer says.

Here are a few things to know about BPA, as summarized from an advisory by the Department of Health and Human Services:

* Plastic containers have triangular recycling codes on the bottom.
Some numbered 3 and 7 may contain BPA. Those numbered 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6
very likely do not.
* Do not put warm or hot liquids into BPA containers.
* Do not use them if scratched.
* Most baby bottles are BPA-free because of voluntary changes by major
manufacturers. Pacifiers and toys use materials without BPA.

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Comment by Jeff on February 22, 2010 at 3:36am
BPA should be banned from the planet. I can't believe it's approved for use in anything humans eat, but it is.


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