BPA: It’s Time for the Federal Government to Catch Up!June 14, 2011
The world knows how dangerous BPA is. Even China, following the lead of Europe and Canada, has now banned BPA in baby bottles. In the absence of leadership from the federal government, many states have also started to take action.
The endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) is a common ingredient in polycarbonate plastics; as we have reported numerous times, BPA has been linked with serious health problems, including cancer, birth defects, and heart disease. In China, the Ministry of Health, in conjunction with five other government bodies, has banned the manufacture of infant bottles that contain BPA as of June 1; the ban on all imports and sales of BPA-laced bottles begins September 1. China joins the European Union, which announced at the end of last year that it was banning the manufacture of BPA in baby bottles as of March 1 and importation and sales as of June 1, and Canada, which last October formally declared BPA to be a toxic substance.
In May we told you about SB 210, a bill before the Connecticut legislature to ban BPA in thermal cash register receipts and require the Chemical Innovations Institute to develop an annual list of chemicals of high toxic concern. On June 8, the bill passed in both the House and the Senate of Connecticut, and is on its way to be signed by the governor!
We had similar success in Maryland. HB4, a bill to prohibit more than 0.5 parts per billion of BPA in containers of infant formula, passed and was signed into law by the governor.
There are new bills in California, Delaware, and New York that seek to ban BPA in various products. If you are a citizen of these states, please contact your legislators immediately and ask them to support these important bills!
By contrast, the Federal government still doesn’t get the message. Last August, ANH-USA filed a Citizen Petition with the Consumer Products Safety Commission to have BPA banned from cash register receipts, the little-known but most common pathway of BPA into your body. We re-filed this past March, demanding that the agency fully consider our petition and assess it on the legal grounds and evidence that we presented to them, but the CPSC refused to consider our petition for a second time, citing OSHA as the appropriate venue.
However, CSPC let us know that the agency is in the process of working through an approach on BPA with the Environmental Protection Agency, to move toward alternatives to BPA that could be used in thermal paper for cash register receipts. EPA intends to post a “draft evaluation of ecological and human health hazards and environmental fate of BPA and alternate developers“ for public review and comment in September. We plan to wait and see the result before we consider litigation.