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enviroblog

Environmental connections to public health >>

Labor camps? Fine. But BPA crosses the line.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

By Alex Formuzis, EWG Vice President for Media Relations

China:

  • Where anyone who speaks out against the government will likely languish for years in a prison cell;
  • Where crackdowns on the press and Internet access happen again and again;
  • Where consumer products contaminated with very dangerous pollutants, such as antifreeze in toothpaste, are frequently sold and exported;
  • And now, where the intensely pro-business government is moving to do what U.S. officials have long refused to do - ban the plastics chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) from baby bottles and other products that hold food and drinks for children.

Home Sweet Home, by contrast:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has never taken steps to get BPA out of children's products, and just last fall the U.S. Senate dropped legislation to restrict BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups at the request of the chemical industry.

When China gets out front of the U.S. on protecting children's health, it's clear that our leaders' priorities are out of whack.

All the same, Beijing's announcement is very good news for American consumers. China probably makes some of the BPA-containing products that end up on U.S. store shelves, including items we give to our children.

In Congress, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) have both re-introduced legislation to get BPA out of baby bottles and sippy cups, but its prospects for passage in the new Congress are slim, at best. The Republican-controlled House just passed a bill that would cut EPA's budget by a third, all but ending the Obama administration's efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and slash funding for 57 poison control centers by 93 percent. The new leadership of the "people's house" has tossed protections for children's health over the side so industry can get what it wants.

I was going to pass along some tips on how to avoid BPA, but my colleague at the Natural Resources Defense Council has already done that.

[Thanks to Flickr CC & theogeo for the pretty map of China]

 

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