Smart discussion about toxics policy reform

Sacramento says: Let them eat BPA

Last week I realized (again) how hard it is for citizens to protect their children when corporate interests are at stake.  It’s a maddeningly familiar equation:

Threat to children  +

Overwhelming constituent support +

Solid science +

Well-financed industry opposition with fear tactics =

= Industry victory

Time and time again.  Here’s what happened this time:

The California state Assembly failed to pass SB 797, a bill which would have banned the toxic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) from use in children’s sippy cups, infant formula and other food and drink products designed for children aged three and younger (see how Assembly members voted).

Support, support, and more support for SB 797

More than 200 scientific studies have linked BPA, a synthetic estrogen used in many hard plastics, to reproductive disorders, prostate and brIMG_0086east cancer, autism, birth defects, infertility in men, early puberty in girls and other serious health risks.

Support for SB 797 included a broad range of concerned parents, scientists, physicians, public interest and health organizations, including CHANGE, Breast Cancer Fund, Environmental Working Group, Physicians for Social Responsibility, California Women Infants and Children (WIC), Moms Rising, the California Teachers Association and the California Labor Federation.

According to Breast Cancer Fund Policy Manager Gretchen Lee Salter, SB 797 failed to secure the necessary votes despite overwhelming support in favor of the ban because well-funded BPA industry lobbyists were successful in targeting legislators, swaying the vote against protecting the health of California’s children.

Surprise! Industry “isn’t shy” about using fear tactics

Director of the California Office of EWG Renee Sharp (pictured above, right), “The chemical and pharmaceutical industries weren’t shy in using the fear tactics they hatched behind closed doors here in California. Unfortunately, their influence, misinformation and outright deceptions carried the day.”

-5According to Sharp, Connecticut banned BPA with similar legislation last Spring by a nearly unanimous and bipartisan vote, before the BPA industry had fully developed and implemented their PR campaign.

A recent BCF press release reported that BPA industry meeting notes leaked in May 2009 revealed plans to sway the California legislature by “befriending people that are able to manipulate the legislative process.” The notes also detailed their strategies to use “fear tactics” to scare the public into opposing efforts to ban the chemical. These tactics appear to have been successful—at least for now, as the bill could be taken up again by the Assembly as early as January 2010.

“It’s sobering that our Assembly did not act to protect the millions of California babies and toddlers who are exposed to BPA every day,” said Salter. “This is a blow to kids’ safety, as well as to scientific integrity. Now we must work to ensure they do the right thing in the future.”

Let’s make sure that BPA-free future isn’t very far off.

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3 Responses to “Sacramento says: Let them eat BPA”

  1. Audrey says:

    When it comes down to it, the government isn’t on the side of it’s constituents. Nothing is done in safety ‘FOR the PEOPLE’ even though everything is done ‘BY the PEOPLE’. Don’t let this die, Californians!

  2. Bill Hoey says:

    I think your articles about BPA are the epitome of “using fear tactics”, actually. You have no proof that plastics made with BPA are harmful. Instead, you use fear and conjecture as your weapons.

    Whatever happened to sound scientific methods and… proof? Just because someone has twice as much of anything in their system doesn’t mean anything.

    It is simply not a fact that BPA is harmful to humans taken in normal quantities.

    You need to go back and examine your own use of “fear tactics.” This website is a case study.

  3. Lisa Frack says:

    Bill, Thanks for weighing in about BPA. EWG has been testing containers for BPA and leaching for years, as well as following the science of others – of which there is plenty – to show leaching, in-body evidence, and harm at low doses.

    You might take a look at our report about BPA in canned foods:, our recent cord blood tests which revealed BPA in infants:, and a timeline of the chemical: All of these include information about health effects.

    We also have a discussion of the importance of low dose exposures and their affects here:, and in our 22-minute ’10 Americans’ presentation, if you’re so inclined:

    There are more and more scientific studies linking low-dose exposures of BPA to long-term adverse health effects, especially when young children and pregnant women are exposed. What low doses are in your medicine cabinet? I assume you believe they have health effects.