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Calif. Senate Passes Bill to Restrict Toxic BPA

Nation one step closer to eliminating hormone-disrupting chemical from food packaging

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 30, 2011
Contact: Shannon Coughlin, Breast Cancer Fund, 415-336-2246, scoughlin@breastcancerfund.org

SACRAMENTO – Today the California Senate passed a bill to ban the toxic chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, from baby bottles. The Assembly, which passed a similar bill in May 2011, will now do a concurrence vote before the bill is sent to Gov. Brown’s desk. California would become the eleventh state to restrict BPA in infant feeding products, and the new law would represent yet another step in the governmental and market movement away from this synthetic estrogen linked to breast cancer and other serious health problems.

“It’s great that California will likely join the ranks of states trying to protect infants from BPA,” said Gretchen Lee Salter, policy manager at the Breast Cancer Fund. “It’s an important first step in getting this toxic chemical out of our food packaging.”

The bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Betsy Butler, D-Torrance, and Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Santa Monica, was modeled on similar BPA bills that the legislature failed to pass in 2008, 2009 and 2010, and that have been supported by the Breast Cancer Fund, Environmental Working Group, Physicians for Social Responsibility-L.A. and Consumers’ Union. The legislation is a response to mounting scientific evidence that exposure to even extremely low levels of BPA can negatively impact health. More than 200 scientific studies show that BPA exposure is associated with a wide range of adverse health effects, including breast and prostate cancer, birth defects, infertility in men, early puberty in girls, diabetes and obesity. The primary route of exposure is through the leaching of BPA from food and beverage containers. Once in food, BPA moves quickly into the body. Babies and young children are particularly vulnerable because their bodies are still developing.

BPA has been banned from baby bottles and sippy cups in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Washington, Wisconsin, Vermont and New York. Connecticut, Maryland and Vermont restrict the use of BPA in baby food and infant formula as well.

In the marketplace, leading baby bottle manufacturers have pledged to stop using the chemical, and retailers including CVS, Kmart, Safeway, Toys R Us and Walmart have announced they will stop selling BPA-containing baby bottles. Still, BPA-containing products may remain on some store shelves, and there is evidence that some of the replacement plastics may contain chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body.

“Phasing BPA out of baby bottles is a great start,” said Salter. “Now we need to focus on getting BPA out of all food and beverage containers and demanding that manufacturers replace BPA with safe alternatives.”

This month the Breast Cancer Fund launched a campaign to get BPA out of canned foods. (BPA is used in the epoxy-resin lining of food and beverage cans.) The Cans Not Cancer campaign aims to convince canned food manufacturers to replace BPA in their cans with a safe alternative that's not linked to disease. Learn more at www.breastcancerfund.org/cansnotcancer.

 

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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