Suffolk County BPA Ban SignedApr 3, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
Yesterday, Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy announced that he signed Suffolk County’s ban on bisphenol A—BPA—in baby bottles and sippy cups. "We owe it to our youngsters to minimize their exposure to potentially harmful products, especially when there are safe, toxin-free alternatives readily available," Levy said in a statement.
The ban is in effect for BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups meant for children three years of age and younger and carries a $500 fine, said Newsday, noting that the ban will become law “90 days after it is officially filed with the secretary of state's office.” In March, Humayun Chaudhry, the Suffolk County health commissioner said bill enforcement would be "a challenge" since county inspectors do not regularly monitor stores where baby bottles are sold, said Newsday. Chaudhry noted that Suffolk County would enforce the ban by relying on consumer complaints.
Senator Charles Schumer (Democrat-New York) has long worked to ban BPA from baby products and said this week that he plans to introduce a measure in Congress to ban BPA from baby products nationwide, said Newsday. Most recently, Massachusetts became the latest state to consider action against the toxic, estrogenic chemical.
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 highly ubiquitous and 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 a chemical used to strengthen plastic.
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 current FDA 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.