March 4, 2009
BANNING BPA IN SUFFOLK COUNTY, NY
Yonkers, N.Y.—Consumers Union hailed the passage of landmark legislation passed yesterday by the Suffolk County Legislature to protect babies and toddlers from ingesting bisphenol A (BPA) from beverage containers, a chemical contained in hard plastics used in baby bottles and “sippy” cups designed for young children and in epoxy resins of many beverage containers. The decision would make it the first jurisdiction in the nation to ban BPA.
“This is a victory for all consumers, but most of all for our youngest ones,” said Dr. Urvashi Rangan, Senior Scientist and Policy Analyst, Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports. “This landmark legislation sets a new precedent and sends a strong message to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and to industry that people and local governments like Suffolk County want change now.” Dr. Rangan testified at the public hearing that was held there yesterday.
Consumers Union has repeatedly called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban BPA materials in infant and children’s products and food and beverage contact containers, as FDA already has enough scientific data to support such a decision. Several states, such as Oregon, Washington and California, and cities, such as Chicago, are also considering BPA bans as the FDA continues to research BPA, while allowing the product to remain on the market. In 2008, the Canadian government banned its use in baby bottles.
“We are particularly hopeful this will have a resonating impact on the rest of the country and the marketplace as a whole,” said Dr. Rangan.
BPA—a chemical found in the linings of cans and in many plastic products, including sports bottles, food-storage containers and baby bottles—has potential links to a wide range of health effects. BPA has been linked to a variety of diseases including an increased risk of diseases or disorders of the brain, reproductive, and immune systems; recent studies have linked BPA exposure to problems with liver function testing, an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease, and interruptions in chemotherapy treatment; and BPA exposure has long been linked to hormonal disturbances. A study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has shown that 93% of Americans excrete some BPA in their urine. New studies also show that BPA seems to stay in the body longer than previously believed.
In August 2008, the federal agency said BPA was safe for humans. But the agency only considered studies that had been financed by the plastics industry. At a recent Science Board Hearing, FDA tacitly acknowledged the serious health concerns regarding BPA, but the agency continues to defend their position that no public health safeguards should be implemented at this time.
CU was one of the first organizations to test and report on consumer products with BPA, and warned consumers about the potential risks almost a decade ago. Since CU’s first study, more than a hundred studies have been published showing a wide range of adverse effects in animals at low doses of BPA, doses that approximate current levels circulating in the human population. CU recently tested “BPA-free” claims on bottles and has also published advice on how consumers can reduce their exposure to BPA. For more information, please visit the food section of greenerchoices.org.
Dr. Urvashi Rangan, 646.594.0212 (cell)
Naomi Starkman, 917.539.3924 (cell)