Massachusetts Warns Bisphenol A Toxic
Mass. Department of Public Health cautions pregnant women and children to avoid BPA exposure
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 3, 2009
Contact: Shannon Coughlin, 415-336-2246 cell, email@example.com
San Francisco – Today the Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued a public health advisory on bisphenol A, or BPA, warning pregnant and breastfeeding women and children up to two years old to avoid exposure to the chemical. This landmark warning about BPA’s toxicity is expected to influence legislative efforts to ban the chemical which are currently moving in California and Congress.
BPA is a synthetic estrogen 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. The Massachusetts public health advisory also cites recent studies that found BPA can interfere with breast cancer chemotherapy treatment.
The Massachusetts advisory is the latest in a series of municipal, state and federal actions aimed at reducing exposure to BPA. Federal legislation introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D, Calif.) and Rep. Edward Markey (D, Mass.) would ban BPA from all food and beverage containers. The California Assembly is considering legislation that would ban BPA from food and drink containers designed for children ages three and younger. The bill, which already passed the Senate, is expected to be voted on in August. This spring, Minnesota banned BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups, as did Suffolk County in New York and the city of Chicago. Connecticut banned BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups, as well as infant formula and baby food cans and jars and reusable food and beverage containers. More than 20 other states and municipalities have considered or are considering legislation to regulate the chemical.
“The science is well established and public concern about BPA is at an all time high,” said Janet Nudelman, director of program and policy at the Breast Cancer Fund. “With the flurry of state and municipal action on BPA, it’s clearly time for Congress to also take this issue seriously and ban the chemical in food and beverage containers. While the ban is being implemented, the FDA should follow Massachusetts’ lead and launch an immediate public education campaign to warn consumers to avoid BPA exposures.”
There has been significant movement away from BPA in the marketplace as well. Chemical manufacturer Sunoco acknowledged health concerns when it announced in March that 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 packaging that doesn’t contain BPA, six baby bottle manufacturers have pledged to stop using the chemical, and retailers including CVS, Kmart, Safeway, Sears, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Kroger, Wegmans Foods and Whole Foods have announced they will stop selling BPA-containing baby bottles.
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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