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Environmental Health Groups Prevail: Wal-Mart Is Removing Toxic Baby Bottles, Nalgene To Phase Out Toxic Water Bottles

U.S. and Canada Declare Health Risks from Bisphenol A Governments Issue Warning, Retailers responding

For Immediate Release: April 18, 2008
Contact: Stephenie Hendricks, (415) 258-9151, stephdh@earthlink.net

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, announced today it is immediately removing baby bottles, sippy cups, pacifiers, food containers and water bottles made with bisphenol A (BPA) from its Canadian stores and will be removing BPA containing baby bottles from its U.S. stores next year following both governments’ warnings on BPA this week. News that Wal-Mart will remove BPA containing products, and that Nalgene, a leading water bottle manufacturer, will phase out all BPA bottles, was applauded by dozens of public health and science based organizations working to ban the endocrine disrupting chemical, commonly found in baby bottles, water bottles, and in linings of food cans. Environmental health groups had stepped up their call for BPA restrictions recently with the release of new findings of BPA in baby bottles, infant formula cans, Nalgene bottles, and human samples. The groups had also specifically asked Wal-Mart to remove baby bottles containing BPA.

On Tuesday, the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) reversed its earlier findings and declared evidence of links to cancer from bisphenol A. The NIH statement was issued after a Congressional investigation spurred by Environmental Working Group revealed that only studies from the chemical industry were recognized in FDA’s bisphenol A’s evaluation despite dozens of scientific studies linking the chemical to an array of illness, including obesity, diabetes, thyroid disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer and schizophrenia.

Mia Davis from Clean Water Fund says,“It is great to see that both the US and Canadian governments are finally recognizing the scientific studies showing risk for health effects from exposure to bisphenol A, and in the same week, that Wal-Mart and Nalgene are appropriately responding to these serious health risks by pulling BPA products from the market.”

“We are delighted that Wal-Mart and Nalgene are doing the only sensible thing in light of the reality that BPA in baby and water bottles show great risk of causing harm to infants and consumers who drink from them,” said Mike Schade, of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice. “We call on Target, Walgreens, and other major retailers to join Wal-Mart in protecting consumers, especially children, from a chemical that more and more research keeps showing is dangerous to our most vulnerable resource, our children.”

Representatives from the American Chemistry Council (ACC) maintain the chemical is safe because of the low exposure amounts, ignoring a number of key studies showing health effects from low dose exposures. A recent Center for Disease Control study revealed that over 90% of all Americans have BPA in their bodies. It is not thought to be bioaccumulative, so that means there is so much BPA in the products we use that we are constantly exposed. The ACC also justifies its position by claiming the FDA has approved the chemical, although another Congressional investigation is being conducted on industry interference with bisphenol A FDA regulatory policy.

ACC chairman Jack Warner has been asked by the Congressional committee to answer questions about their involvement in FDA regulatory policy. A media consulting firm hired by ACC, The Weinberg Group, is also being investigated by Congress for reportedly deliberately misleading the public about the chemical. For many in the scientific and public health community, the approval of bisphenol A has become symbolic of the industry interference with scientific integrity in federal government regulatory policies.

Many physicians say it’s about time the NIH acknowledged the many studies linking BPA to heath effects. “There’s no disputing the science that BPA disrupts hormones. These latest reports highlight why we need to stop right now exposing our children – who depend on normal hormone function to develop normally – to these toxic chemicals. The sad task of tallying the myriad ways that children may have already been harmed should only come AFTER we act to prevent such future exposures.“ says David Wallinga, MD, from the public health organization, Healthy Legacy.

The Wal-mart move came about in part due to a letter from the Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) of America. Maureen Swanson, Healthy Children Project Coordinator for LDA says, “In animal studies, very low level exposure to Bisphenol A has been linked to impaired learning, hyperactivity and aggression. We applaud Wal-Mart's decision to protect our children's developing brains and bodies from exposure to Bisphenol A in baby bottles, and hope that their swift action spurs national efforts to ban use of this toxic chemical altogether."

"It's outrageous that some baby bottle manufacturers are exposing little girls to BPA and possibly increasing their risk of breast cancer later in life, especially since there are safer alternatives," said Janet Nudelman, Director of Program and Policy for the Breast Cancer Fund. "Wal-Mart's announcement that it will stop selling baby bottles formulated with BPA is a common-sense response to the overwhelming scientific evidence linking exposure to BPA to a host of adverse health effects."

Due to the failure of federal policy, an increasing number of states have introduced their own legislation to restrict bisphenol A including California, Connecticut, New York, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Illinois.

"Now that the science has been allowed to emerge, we hope that our officials take immediate action to remove Bisphenol A from common everyday products like food and beverage containers," said Sarah Uhl, Coordinator for the Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut, backing state legislation to phase out the use of BPA in children's products. "This is especially critical for pregnant women and young children who are particularly vulnerable and getting daily exposure through baby formula containers and baby bottles, among other common products."

"We thank the officials who are standing up and demanding accountability from the chemical industry as they attempt to bury the science that connects toxic chemicals like Bisphenol A to chronic health epidemics such as breast and prostate cancer," said Cindy Luppi, spokesperson for the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow. "This is yet more evidence that it's time to reform the outdated rules that govern toxic chemicals as the Massachusetts legislature is poised to do."

A broad coalition of groups is calling upon the public to take action by sending comments to the NIH and by signing a petition to ban bisphenol A from all baby bottles. Go to http://www.babystoxicbottle.org for more information.

Available for interviews:

David Walinga, MD, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Food & Health Director (612) 870-3418 , www.iatp.org  

Maureen Swanson, Healthy Children Project Coordinator, Learning Disabilities Association of America
724-813-9684, mswanson@ldaamerica.org

Mia Davis, National Grassroots Coordinator, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Clean Water Fund miadavis@cleanwater.org, 617.338.8131 ext 201 www.safecosmetics.org  

Mike Schade, The Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ)
212.964.3680 mike@chej.org http://www.besafenet.com/pvc  
http://www.chej.org  

Janet Nudelman, Director of Program and Policy for the Breast Cancer Fund to schedule an interview with Janet Nudelman, please contact Stephenie Hendricks 415 258-9151 stephdh@earthlink.net  

Sarah Uhl, Coordinator, Coalition for a Safe & Healthy CT
Clean Water Action 860-232-6232 suhl@cleanwater.org
www.cleanwateraction.org/ct  

Cindy Luppi, New England Program Director, Clean Water Action Clean Water Fund
617/338-8131 ext 208 cluppi@cleanwater.org  www.cleanwater.org  

Max Muller, Environment Illinois 312-291-0696 x211 cell 503-706-4738


For information on Health Canada’s ruling: Jennifer Foulds Communications Director
Environmental Defence (416) 323-9521 ext. 232 Toll-free: 1-877-399-2333 ext. 232
Cell: (647) 280-9521 Email:
jfoulds@environmentaldefence.ca  

Additional Resources:

“Baby’s Toxic Bottle,” February 2008 report on leaching of bisphenol A from plastic baby bottles sold at Wal-Mart and other retailers. Includes bisphenol A fact sheet and information on state legislation.
www.babystoxicbottle.org

“Is It In Us?” an October 2007 study on chemical contamination in our bodies, including bisphenol A: www.Isitinus.org 

“Contaminated without Consent,” a new free 16 minute DVD on chemical contamination and what we can do about it. www.contaminatedwithoutconsent.org  

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics www.safecosmetics.org  

The Center for Health, Environment and Justice www.chej.org  

Clean Water Action, Connecticut www.cleanwateraction.org/ct http://www.cleanwateraction.org/ct  

Clean Water Action www.cleanwater.org  

Environmental Defence Canada www.environmentaldefence.ca  

Environment Illinois www.environmentillinois.org  

Environmental Working Group www.ewg.org  

Learning Disabilities Association of America www.ldaamerica.org