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Massachusetts is the Latest State Considering a BPA Ban

Mar 20, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP

In the growing uprising against the toxic, estrogenic, and highly ubiquitous chemical, bisphenol A—BPA—Massachusetts has become the latest state to consider action.  Health officials in Massachusetts are in talks to determine if pregnant women and young children should, at the very least, be warned about BPA-tainted products or if the chemical should be banned, said Boston.com

Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed BPA safe for all consumers, even the most vulnerable infants, children, and pregnant women, science keeps pointing to its dangerous health effects, even at low levels.  A significant problem since BPA is present in scores of consumer products such as some baby bottles, sippy cups, food and formula cans, CD cases, and eyeglasses, to name just some.  BPA is the chemical used in plastic products to make the products stronger and is also used in the resins that line canned food products, Boston.com notes.

"We are evaluating the science … to come up with the best information that makes public health and consumer sense," said Suzanne Condon, director of the state Bureau of Environmental Health, quoted Boston.com.  Condon said should the department issue a warning, it will look to provide a list of safer alternatives, said Boston.com; however, limited information and department cutbacks have stalled efforts.  According to Boston.com, Condon would like to finalize the advisory decision over the next few months; the ban would not occur until later.

A protest including consumer and environmental advocates and parents took place at the State House in Massachusetts in response to the anticipated timing, handing over nearly 8,500 consumer messages, said Boston.com, which added that a good amount of the messages were enclosed in BPA bottles and all were delivered to Governor Deval Patrick’s office, said Boston.com.

BPA 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 toxin in their bodies longer than the kidneys of older children and adults, a serious concern given the frequency with which babies are exposed to BPA from plastic products 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 FDA's current safety standards.

But, despite overwhelming evidence presented by a wide array of experts saying that BPA is dangerous and moves by major retailers and manufacturers to ban BPA from products—not to mention increasing U.S. and Canadian governmental moves to ban the chemical—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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