Smart discussion about toxics policy reform

Message in a BPA-free bottle: Destination Sacramento

Yes, there are BPA-free baby bottles.  No, they’re not cheap or available in every neighborhood.  And you’re right, your ‘to-do’ list should not include getting a degree in toxicology, deciphering cryptic labels, or spending hours (that you likely don’t have) researching and hunting down the safest products.  As Dr. Harvey Karp, pediatrician and well-known author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, told parents at the Toxic Baby Bottle Swap and anti-BPA rally last week in east L.A.:

Because your job is to do other really important things like cook dinner, clean the house, raise your children, give them a good education.  And  while you’re sleeping at night, you hope the government is doing its job to regulate the dangers that your family is exposed to.  And that is the reason behind [the Toxic-Free Babies and Toddlers Act].

Californians rallied for change

Earlier this month, EWG and a strong coalition of environmental and public health advocates joined over 150 Californians – and their children – to rally in Los Angeles and Sacramento to send their state Assembly members an important message – in BPA-free bottles (generously donated by Green to Grow).   DSCN0286Good thing, too, since industry is doing its best to send an even louder message as it fights to save BPA.  At the Toxic Baby Bottle Swap in east L.A., Dr. Tigner-Weekes of St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, asked the crowd:

How many of you want your kid to be the guinea pig? Chemical companies manufacture their own papers to support their products. They will do anything for the bottom line: money. They dump their inferior products in the poor neighborhoods where alternatives are not available. It is expensive to be poor. And guess who benefits at our expense?  The companies that make these inferior products.

It’s the same old David v. Galiath battle, where industry spins and spends its way to victory.  But with recent wins in Connecticut, Minnesota and a number of local governments around the country, it’s clear that legislators are grasping the science of BPA, listening to their constituents, and voting to protect children.  California should be next.  It has a population of 38 million (having about 550,000 babies a year) and an economy large enough to drive market change.

Science should prevail in California BPA vote

As early as next week the California Assembly will vote on BPA.  So we’re sending our own message to its members – especially those whose votes can make it happen:

Very soon you’ll be asked to vote on a bill that is extremely important for protecting the health of California’s children.  You should pass Senator Pavley’s SB 797, the Toxics-Free Babies and Toddlers Act, requires all baby bottles, sippy cups, formula cans, and baby food jars sold in California to be essentially free of the toxic hormone disruptor BPA (bisphenol-A).  Why?  Because:

  • The science is clear. BPA is dangerous to growing bodies and implicated in diseases and problems such as diabetes, heart disease, neurological disorders, and cancer.  Companies are starting to eliminate BPA from their products voluntarily because they see the writing on the wall. In early August, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued an advisory to new moms recommending that they avoid exposing themselves and their children to BPA.
  • The technology is clear. There are safe substitutes already on the market for bottles, cups and formula cans.  All parents should be able to walk into a store and buy a safe product without doing research or reading the fine print.
  • The policy is clear. The “Green Chemistry Initiative” is laudable but will take years to implement.  BPA is a known and immediate threat to the half a million babies born in California each year.   California must lead on behalf of our children.  They shouldn’t have to wait for a regulatory process to unfold or for the federal government to act.

IMG_0086Calling all Californians to send a message: A few key Assembly members need to hear from you – today.  Their votes are critical to passing SB 797, and as Lisa Kaas Boyle said on The Huffington Post, “The fight is down to the wire.”

So pick up the phone, and make a few very important calls – it could make all the difference:

  • Wilmer Amina – Carter: 916-319-2062
  • Warren Furutani: 916-319-2055
  • Alyson Huber: 916-319-2010
  • Ted Lieu: 916-319-2053
  • Norma Torres: 916-319-2061

Speak up!  This bill is strong, California is important, and BPA’s a known toxin whose time is up.

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