Earlier this week, I joined a wide array of public health advocates to thank and honor Maryland Delegate James Hubbard and Senator Brian Frosh for their leadership in the successful effort to ban the plastics chemical BPA from drinking containers statewide. The lawmakers received the “Children’s Health Advocate of the Year” award for their effective advocacy in the face of continued federal inaction on this dangerous chemical.
In addition to Environmental Working Group, those participating in the event were Maryland PIRG, MomsRising.org, the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, the Maryland Nurses Association, the Black Nurses Association of Baltimore and many others.
With Governor Martin O’Malley’s signature in April, Maryland joined Connecticut, Minnesota, Washington State and Wisconsin, along with several counties and localities, in taking action to regulate BPA.
As we’ve seen elsewhere, this was not an easy fight, but in the end the outcome was decisive. After Delegate Hubbard led the way for several years, Senator Frosh joined the effort and together they were able to secure unanimous votes to ban BPA in both chambers of the Maryland legislature. EWG supporters played an invaluable role, sending more than 500 letters to legislators urging a yes vote on the bill and more than 400 to thank Governor O’Malley for signing it into law.
The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering whether to restrict the use of BPA in canned food and other food packaging, and the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has listed the plasticizer as a “chemical of concern.” BPA is used to harden plastic containers and is an ingredient in epoxy resin used to coat the interiors of virtually all metal food cans manufactured in North America.
Thanks to the leadership of these two legislators and the determined advocacy of public health, environmental, mothers’ and public interest organizations, Maryland children will now have much less exposure to this harmful chemical.