Your city • inside and out

BPA is Bad for You

In Urban Affairs on February 25, 2009 at 2:33 pm

waterbottle

Legislation to eliminate the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) from baby bottles, sippy cups, and other children’s food containers passed a key appropriations committee in Olympia today on a vote of 10-4. If the legislation becomes law, Washington State would become first in the nation to place restrictions on BPA in children’s products.

BPA was originally introduced as an estrogen-mimic, though its use now is primarily reserved for production of polycarbonate plastics. Polycarbonate plastics are used in water bottles, food storage containers, and even the lining of some tin cans.

The Safe Baby Bottle Act of 2009 (HB 1180), sponsored by Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-36, aims to reduce children’s exposure to BPA by eliminating it from products they eat and drink out of every day.

BPA is a synthetic sex hormone that research links to health effects, including cancer, miscarriage, obesity, reproductive problems, and hyperactivity. In addition, recent scientific studies show infants are more susceptible to BPA because it stays longer in their bodies than adults. Research also shows exposure to BPA puts girls at an increased risk of breast cancer. BPA is used in polycarbonate plastic baby bottles, sippy cups, and other containers.

More than 30 health, environmental, consumer, and children’s advocates have endorsed the bill, including the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Washington State Nurses Association, Washington Conservation Voters, Children’s Alliance, People For Puget Sound, and WashPIRG.

Bills to regulate use of BPA have been introduced in Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon, Texas, and Vermont. Canada is already moving forward with regulations to ban BPA in baby bottles later this year.

The bill now awaits a vote in the full House.

For an alarmingly detailed, day-by-day look at how BPA and other chemicals affect the fetus in utero, check out this new, interactive Web site.

For tips on finding BPA-free products, click here.

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