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Elected officials MIA; Instead, Wal-Mart and Burger King protecting your health

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Despite numerous health and consumer safety concerns, California lawmakers fell under the lobbying influence of the chemical industry and rejected the two bills that would ban chemicals from baby bottles, food containers and microwave popcorn bags. The two measures, Senate Bill 1713 by Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, and Senate Bill 1313, by Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, would have banned two notoriously toxic chemicals PFOA, a key ingredient of Teflon, and BPA, from food containers and packaging, including infant sippie cups and baby bottles. While numerous retailers, including Wal-Mart and Burger King, decided to remove products containing BPA and PFOA from their shelves and their food packaging respectively, numerous California legislators decided not to show up for the vote. It's true that the weather is very nice and going to the beach sounds pretty appealing, but I, the taxpayer, am outraged that the retail and fast food giants are taking the steps to protect the public, while the elected officials are not. Corbett's bill, that would have banned the chemical PFOA from food packaging, which has been identified as a likely human carcinogen, fell five votes short of the 41 needed. 11 California legislators did not vote. Migden's bill, that would ban the use of BPA for products used by children less than three years of age, died on a 27-to-31 vote, with 22 abstentions. The vote was preceded by the recent eyebrow raising decision by the FDA that exposure to BPA from consumer products is safe for humans. The announcement came out on Friday, while the California vote was on Monday. The FDA, another governmental body financed by the taxpayer, has sided with special interest groups on this issue again. So, rest assured that while your legislators are napping, the chemical industry is wide awake. They continue to invest millions in propaganda that argues that PFOA and BPA are safe. And sadly, those brain altering chemicals are working on California legislators! There is no question PFOA and BPA are linked to health problems. Both bills, which were granted reconsideration, must be passed so that Californians are not exposed to these toxic chemicals. Then, we need federal action to protect all Americans.