Environmental connections to public health >>
Maryland bans BPA - unanimously
Last week the Maryland Senate unanimously voted to ban the toxic plastics chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles and sippy cups. The Senate's action, by a vote of 45 to 0, marks the last major hurdle for the BPA ban, sponsored by Senator Brian Frosh (D-Montgomery County).
A companion measure offered by Delegate James Hubbard (D-Prince George's County) won unanimous approval in the House of Delegates on Feb. 19.
Maryland Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) and the Maryland Nurses Association spearheaded advocacy efforts in Annapolis. EWG's Jason Rano testified at hearings in both houses, urging members to protect Maryland's youngest and most vulnerable residents. Rano had this to say about the great outcome:
"The widespread and long-time use of BPA has left virtually everyone exposed, including babies still in the womb. The Maryland Senate has sent a strong message to the state's parents that their elected leaders are working to protect their children from this harmful substance.
Without the efforts of Maryland PIRG and the Maryland Nurses Association we likely wouldn't be at this point today. Their leadership and commitment drove these victories. Everyone concerned with children's health should commend them."
Governor Martin O'Malley is expected to sign the bill into law after the General Assembly adjourns in April.
BPA regulation beyond Maryland Maryland will join Connecticut, Minnesota, Chicago, Albany County, Schenectady County and Suffolk County, New York, among the jurisdictions restricting BPA in plastic food containers for infants and young children.
Meanwhile, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering whether to restrict the use of BPA in canned food and other food packaging. The chemical is an integral ingredient of epoxy resin, used to coat the interiors of virtually all metal food cans manufactured in North America. The FDA, government and independent scientists and health advocates are particularly concerned about BPA leaching into canned infant formula, because of numerous studies that have linked the chemical to developmental abnormalities in fetal and infant test animals.