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Federal BPA Ban in the Works

Mar 17, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP

Yesterday, key members in the House and Senate introduced legislation for a federal ban on the toxic, estrogenic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in all food and beverage containers, the Washington Post reported.  Representative Edward J. Markey (Democrat-Massachusetts) and Senators Dianne Feinstein (Democrat-California) and Charles E. Schumer (Democrat-New York), introduced the bills, said the Washington Post.

The prior day, Sunoco, the gas and chemical giant, told its investors that it will no longer be selling BPA to companies for use in food and water containers for children under the age of three and that it can not guarantee BPA’s safety, said the Washington Post. Sunoco will restrict BPA sales to those customers guaranteeing BPA will not be used in such containers for very young children, said USA Today.

Earlier this month, six baby-bottle makers—Playtex, Avent, Disney First Years, Dr. Brown, Evenflo, and Gerber—announced that they will not be using BPA in their baby bottle products.  New York’s Suffolk County also just announced that legislative officials there voted to implement a bill to ban the controversial, toxic chemical from baby bottles and sippy cups.

Representative Markey said, “It is time for Congress to act quickly to ban this toxin from all food and beverage containers."  Senator Feinstein was quoted as saying, “Americans should not be used as guinea pigs by chemical companies while we wait, potentially for several years, for more scientific evidence to show this chemical is harmful to our health,” reported USA Today.

BPA is the highly ubiquitous, estrogenic toxin that is present in a large variety of consumer products and which has been found to be harmful to humans, especially to the growing bodies of infants and children.  The Associated Press reported in an earlier article that the problem with BPA and young children is that younger, developing kidneys tend to retain the toxic chemical in their bodies longer than the kidneys of older children and adults, a serious concern since babies are exposed to BPA from formula packaging, baby bottles, sippy cups, and other plastic products, which are geared to the youngest consumers.

BPA has been linked to a variety of diseases including an increased risk of diseases or disorders of the brain, reproductive system, and immune system; problems with liver function testing; diabetes and heart disease; interruptions in chemotherapy treatment; and hormonal disturbances.  BPA was also linked to serious health problems based on 130 studies conducted in the past 10 years, the Washington Post reported late last year, and newer research found BPA to have negative effects at “very low doses,” lower than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) current safety standards.

But, despite overwhelming evidence presented by a wide array of experts saying that BPA is dangerous, the FDA continues to maintain that current BPA exposure levels do not pose an immediate health risk to the general population, including infants and young children.  Worse, it is widely known that the agency relied solely on two industry-funded studies for its information, something for which it has long been criticized.


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