Toxic endocrine disruptors aren't the best thing for babies, according to Minnesota, which adopted a statewide ban of bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles and sippy cups on Friday.
The Minnesota ban goes into effect Jan. 1, 2010 -- and hopefully similar bans will also go into effect soon in California and Connecticut, which are set to consider similar measures in the next couple weeks.
These state efforts are actually coming after a lot of company bans on the unpopular stuff -- which came after the FDA refused to do anything about BPA. Back in Aug. 2008, FDA scientists said BPA's not a threat to infants or adults, citing studies funded by the chemical industry. In Oct. 2008, FDA was forced by its BPA subcommittee and science board to re-do its risk assessment -- and attorneys general from Connecticut, Delaware and New Jersey sent letters to 11 companies, asking them to stop using BPA.
The letters worked on 6 companies -- Avent America Inc., Disney First Years, Gerber, Dr. Brown, Playtex Products Inc. and Evenflo Co. -- which announced this March that they stopped using BPA. Similarly, Wal-Mart and Toys R’ Us said they'd stop selling bottles made with BPA.
In California, we had an Assembly Bill to ban BPA in products for children 3 and under last fall -- a bill that was strongly opposed by the American Chemistry Council, which tried to frighten Californians into embracing BPA. That bill failed -- but this March, we got a new one -- The Toxin-Free Toddlers and Babies Act (S.B. 797) -- intro'd by my own State Senator Pavley. This is the one that's coming up for vote soon; call your state senator unless you know she / he already supports it.
I know what you're thinking: Why only baby stuff? Must one be drooly and helpless to qualify for non-toxic bottles and cups? Sure, EWG reports that "recent studies find BPA exposure during early life may permanently alter the developing brain and reproductive systems," but the stuff's also "linked to a growing list of serious health problems, including cancer," that affect adults.
For now, here's EWG's guide to avoid BPA exposure, and the New York Times' impressive roundup of BPA-related news.
Photo by kastner