September 8, 2009
San Francisco, CA—Tomorrow, the California State Assembly will vote on Senate Bill 797, which would ban the use of Bisphenol A (BPA) in food products and packaging designed for children under 3 years old by 2011. BPA is a widely-used chemical found in food and beverage can linings and a building block of polycarbonate plastic used to make a range of products such as sports bottles, food-storage containers, baby bottles, and “sippy” cups.
Numerous studies have shown that BPA can leach from containers into foods and beverages. Never meant to be ingested, BPA has potential links to an array of human health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, cancers, infertility, obesity, and neurological disorders. A 2007 Centers for Disease Control study showed that 93 percent of Americans have BPA in their urine. And a recent study suggests that BPA stays in the body longer than previously believed. Babies and young children may be particularly vulnerable because they may metabolize BPA more slowly than adults.
“California should continue the state’s powerful tradition as a national policy leader and a pioneering watchdog of consumer health and safety, especially when it comes to protecting small children from the dangers of BPA,” said Elisa Odabashian, Director, West Coast Office and State Campaigns, for Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports. “We urge the State Assembly to vote yes on S.B. 797 and ban BPA for our youngest and most vulnerable consumers.”
The bill, authored by California Senator Fran Pavley, D-Santa Monica, would ban BPA in products such as baby bottles, sippy cups, infant formula and baby food jars designed for children ages three and younger. The bill passed the Senate but faces stiff opposition in the Assembly due in part to lobbying by the chemical and infant formula industries.
Several jurisdictions have banned BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, including Suffolk County, New York; the city of Chicago; and the state of Minnesota. Connecticut also recently banned BPA in reusable food and beverage containers, as well as infant formula and baby food cans and jars. In 2008, the Canadian government banned its use in baby bottles.
Several government and non-governmental scientific bodies have assessed the safety of BPA, and indicated concerns, while the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet. Since 2007, Congress has questioned whether the BPA industry has been unduly influential in FDA’s assessment of scientific studies of BPA. Congress recently introduced legislation to ban BPA in food contact substances and FDA, under its new leadership, has initiated another review of BPA safety. The hope is that FDA will consider the range of studies and move to ban BPA in food contact substances.
Almost a decade ago, Consumers Union was one of the first to test BPA in baby bottles, and to warn consumers about its potential dangers. Today, an array of groups, including consumer, health, environmental, medical and scientific, have urged FDA to remove BPA from food and beverage containers, and at the very least, to protect the most vulnerable consumers-young children and pregnant women.
For more information on BPA, please visit Consumer Reports’ website and www.greenerchoices.org/bpa.
Elisa Odabashian, 415.572.0036 (c)
Naomi Starkman, 917.539.3924 (c)