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Shady industry campaign kills CA ban on BPA in baby bottles

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

postcard_final.jpgSACRAMENTO – Bowing to a deceptive, no-holds-barred campaign by the chemical industry, the California State Assembly has failed to approve a bill that would have made the state the first in the nation to remove the toxic endocrine disruptor BPA from baby bottles and children’s drinking cups.

By a vote of 31 for and 36 against on Friday, the last day of the two-year legislative session, Assembly members rejected Senate Bill 1713 by Sen. Carole Migden of San Francisco, which was sponsored by Environmental Working Group (EWG). 41 votes were needed for passage; 13 members of the Assembly were either absent or deliberately did not vote, effectively siding with the chemical industry.

“California parents should be outraged at any politician in Sacramento who chose chemical industry profits over the health of Californians,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “We’re going to do everything we can to let their constituents know who stood up to protect infants and toddlers and who did the business of the chemical lobby.”

The American Chemistry Council and other chemical lobby groups waged a campaign against SB 1713 that included deceptive direct mail, print and online ads, and phone calls claiming that the measure would affect all canned foods, whose containers are lined with a resin made from BPA. The industry also deployed an army of lobbyists, who bombarded legislators with claims that restrictions on BPA would increase the cost of food for low-income families and even deplete the shelves of community food banks.

In April the National Institutes of Health determined that BPA may pose risks to human development, raising concerns for early puberty, prostate problems, breast cancer, and behavioral impacts from early-life exposures. Pregnant women, infants and young children are most vulnerable to the harmful effects of BPA.

The Canadian government, earlier this year, announced plans to ban BPA from a number of consumer products, and the world’s biggest retailer, Wal-Mart, as well as Toys-R-Us are among a growing list of companies taking action to remove products that contain BPA.

“Any chemical that may cause cancer, brain development problems and hormone disruption in animals doesn't belong in a baby’s bottle,” said EWG Senior Analyst Renee Sharp. “The ability of the chemical lobby to flex its poilitical muscles to defeat a common-sense health measure is another reason we need to make sure chemicals are safe for kids before they’re allowed on the market.”

Legislation introduced earlier this year in the U.S. House and Senate – the Kid-Safe Chemicals Act – would force the chemical industry to first prove their products are safe before allowed to be used in consumer products.