Bisphenol A (BPA)
Bisphenol A (BPA), found in the 1930s to be a synthetic estrogen, is now a high-volume production chemical used to make epoxy resin and polycarbonate plastic. Approximately 7 billion pounds of BPA are produced globally each year for use in baby bottles, dental sealants, compact discs, water bottles, food cans, and a large variety of other items.
Due to the widespread use of BPA, human and environmental exposure to the chemical is prevalent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 90% of Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their bodies. In addition, BPA has been found in groundwater, landfill leachate, sewage sludge, and waste water discharge.
Concerns over incessant exposure to BPA have been further compounded by the growing body of scientific evidence linking the chemical to a long list of negative health effects. Low dose exposure to BPA has been linked to developmental delays, behavioral changes, reproductive disorders, cancer, diabetes, and impaired immune systems. Research also indicates that exposure to BPA during critical windows of development may result in health problems not just during infancy, but into adulthood as well.
Alternatives to BPA in food and beverage containers – the primary source of human exposure – not only exist, but are already in use. Baby and water bottle manufacturers are switching to glass, stainless steal, or other types of plastics, and companies in Japan and the U.S. are using BPA-free metal food cans.
Despite the mounting evidence of harm and the existence of safer alternatives for most applications, the federal government
has failed to act. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – the primary agency charged with regulating BPA – asserted the safety of BPA based on two studies, both funded by the chemical industry. In addition, the Toxic Substances Control Act – the law intended to regulate industrial chemicals in the United States – has unsuccessfully protected the public from toxins for more than 30 years.
Rather than relying on the federal government, individual states, cities, and counties have taken the lead and enacted bans on BPA. This includes Minnesota, Connecticut, Chicago, and several counties in New York. Canada also became the first government in the world to declare BPA a toxic substance and prohibit the chemical’s use in baby bottles.
While the FDA continues to drag its feet, the market has seen rapid changes as the result of consumer demand. Major baby bottle manufacturers including Avent, Disney, First Years, Gerber, Dr. Brown, Playtex, and Evenflow have agreed to phase out the use of BPA in their baby bottles. Similarly, Nalgene and CamelBak now offer only BPA-free water bottles. And major retailers such as Wal-Mart and Toys “R” Us have committed to no longer selling baby bottles made with BPA.
House passes BPA bill!
May 5, 2010
On Monday, the House passed a bill to protect children from Bisphenol A (BPA) – a toxic chemical used in some baby bottles, sports bottles, infant formula cans, and many other reusable food and beverage containers. S.247 will now make its way to the Governor’s office where he is expected to sign the bill into law.
BPA is a synthetic estrogen that can leach from products and can enter our bodies. Even small amounts of BPA have been linked to serious health effects including reproductive disorders, cancer, diabetes and heart disease. This is a particularly dangerous problem for infants and children.
S.247 would prohibit the use of BPA in reusable food and beverage containers as well as infant formula and baby food containers. If signed by the Governor, Vermont would join Connecticut, Minnesota, and other states in protecting our families from a toxic chemical used in products that we eat and drink from everyday.
See full report here.