April 2, 2009
Yonkers, N.Y.—Consumers Union commends Suffolk County’s bold decision to move ahead of the federal government and industry to ban bisphenol A (BPA) in empty beverage containers for children under the age of three. The decision makes it the first jurisdiction in the nation to ban BPA—a chemical used in polycarbonate plastic, including some baby bottles, cups, sports bottles, food-storage containers and the linings of cans—which has potential links to a wide range of serious health effects.
“While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stands by, Suffolk County is taking measures to protect their most vulnerable population from the potential harm of BPA exposure,” said Dr. Urvashi Rangan, Senior Scientist and Policy Analyst, Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports. “Some companies are already moving ahead to remove BPA from the marketplace but nationwide, consumers will remain at risk until federal action is taken.”
On March 3, 2009, the Suffolk County, New York legislature unanimously passed the bill to ban BPA. After amending the bill to clarify that the ban applies to empty containers, Suffolk County Executive Steven Levy signed it into law today. Federal legislation to ban BPA in all food and beverage containers, the “Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2009,” was introduced in Congress on March 20, 2009.
The amended ban in Suffolk does not apply to canned food or beverage containers, in which BPA can leach into the contents from resin linings. Consumers Union has repeatedly called on FDA to ban BPA materials in food and beverage contact containers and has urged that at the very least, immediate steps be taken to protect infants and children.
A study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has shown that 93 percent of Americans excrete some BPA in their urine, suggesting that exposure to BPA is likely widespread and ongoing. Moreover, new studies suggest that BPA seems to stays in the body longer than previously believed. Cleary, more oversight is needed to better protect the public’s health.
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.
Naomi Starkman, 917.539.3924-c
Dr. Urvashi Rangan, 646.594.0212-c