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California Moms to State Assembly We Want BPA-free Kids!

Rally at the Capitol in support of bill to ban toxic chemical from infant-feeding products

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 26, 2009
Contact: Shannon Coughlin, Breast Cancer Fund, (415) 336-2246, scoughlin@breastcancerfund.org; Deborah Hoffman, Office of Sen. Fran Pavley, (916) 651-4023, deborah.hoffman@sen.ca.gov

Sacramento – Today, mothers rallied on the Capitol steps, holding babies in “Make Me BPA-Free!” T-shirts, and urging the state Assembly to vote for SB 797, authored by Sen. Fan Pavley, D-Santa Monica, which would ban the synthetic hormone bisphenol A, or BPA, from food and beverage containers designed for children 3 years and younger. The moms and kids pulled wagons through the halls of the Capitol and delivered “messages in baby bottles” to Assembly members asking them to support the legislation. Meanwhile, chemical-industry lobbyists continued their public-relations blitz to defend the chemical, using methods many have compared to tobacco-industry tactics.

“Our message to the Assembly is clear: We can’t wait any longer to protect kids,” said Gretchen Lee Salter, policy manager at the Breast Cancer Fund. “No matter what the chemical industry says, scientists, health professionals and parents insist that synthetic hormones have no place in baby food and beverage products.”

BPA is used in hard polycarbonate plastic food and beverage containers, including some water and baby bottles and sippy cups, as well as in the epoxy lining of food and infant formula cans. BPA leaches into food and beverages and moves quickly into the body. More than 200 scientific studies show that BPA exposure, particularly during gestation and early infancy, is associated with a wide range of adverse health effects including breast cancer, infertility, early puberty in girls, diabetes and obesity.

California is not the first to consider legislation to ban BPA. Minnesota, Connecticut, Chicago and three New York counties have passed legislation banning BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups, and more than 20 other states and municipalities and Congress are considering similar legislation. In the marketplace, chemical manufacturer Sunoco announced it will sell BPA only to companies that guarantee the chemical will not be used to make children’s food and water containers. Leading infant formula companies are beginning to use BPA-free packaging, six baby bottle manufacturers have pledged to stop using the chemical, and retailers including CVS, Kmart, Safeway, Toys R Us and Wal-Mart have announced they will stop selling BPA-containing baby bottles.

Still, many BPA-containing products remain on store shelves, and the chemical industry continues to fight efforts to restrict BPA. An investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel revealed a well-funded campaign by the chemical industry to fight legislation, downplay BPA’s risks, and discredit any efforts to warn the public of the dangers of BPA.

“This is a matter of justice, and it’s time for the Assembly to protect us,” said Elisa Batista, a mother of two from Berkeley, Calif., who attended the rally. “It shouldn’t matter where you shop or what products you can afford. Safe products should be available to all parents.”

“California has always been a leader on environmental health issues, but we are behind on this critical issue,” said Sen. Pavley. “The science on BPA clearly demonstrates the need for immediate action. Let’s get this dangerous chemical out of our children’s food and drink now.”

A final vote on the bill is expected to take place as early as next week.

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The Breast Cancer Fund is the leading national organization working to identify and eliminate the environmental causes of breast cancer. www.breastcancerfund.org