Do Legislators Have the Bottle to Ban BPA?

The fight against BPA (Bisphenol A) experienced a small victory on June 3 when a bill to ban BPA was passed by the State Senate in California. Now, as it goes on to the Assembly, we are already getting a look at the strong opposition it will face as manufacturers of BPA products begin to speak out. The American Chemistry Council reacted to the Senate's decision by releasing a statement. In it they said, "It is apparent that elected officials have bowed to pressure from vocal special interest groups."

BPA is a chemical used to harden plastics in baby bottles, sippy cups, food storage containers, and so much more. Even the most health conscious Americans would be hard pressed to escape the reach of BPA. It is used in the lining of tin cans (yes, all those canned vegetables and soups in your pantry- even your baby's formula), water bottles, and even dental sealants! It is everywhere, which is very disturbing in light of recent studies showing the dangers of BPA.

One study by Frederick vom Saal, PhD. at the University of Missouri-Columbia showed that when the plastics are heated, BPA leaches into the contents. "Heating" could be simply popping a container of leftovers into the microwave for a minute, pouring hot soup into that plastic thermos for your child's lunch or setting your baby's bottle in a cup of hot water to warm it. All these methods would result in BPA leaching into the food that is then consumed.

In animal studies, low doses of BPA have been linked to obesity, diabetes, thyroid disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer and many more serious illnesses. BPA exposure in the womb is shown to delay and even hinder mental development in lab rats, and even cause sexual confusion, resulting in the demasculinization of males and defeminization of females. This should not come as a complete surprise, as BPA is actually a sex hormone. I should note that the BPA levels of exposure that resulted in these effects were beneath the "safe" level established by the EPA.

Though scientists are limited in the ways they can test the effects of BPA in humans, they can monitor and analyse the levels of BPA in our blood.
Such research has revealed that the BPA levels in women who suffer from
recurrent miscarriages are significantly higher than that of women with
successful pregnancies.

With all of these studies at our disposal, I do not understand the reluctance among California Republicans to approve this ban. Votes in the California Senate were pretty much party line, with only two Democrats hopping the isle and voting against the bill. Republican Senator George Runner declared the bill to be a "knee-jerk reaction" claiming it circumvented the states efforts to scrutinize conflicting claims of potential chemical threats.

Senator Runner has three grandchildren. Perhaps he should look through the list of sippy cups and bottles that still contain BPA and see how many of those are in his own kitchen. Maybe after realizing that his own loved ones are at risk, he might reconsider his view. Right now there are NO safety standards in place in the US regarding the use of BPA- not even in children or baby products.
As a mother, the decision about BPA is a simple one. If in doubt- take it out.
It angers me that the decision makers like Senator Runner- the men and women we trust with our safety and the safety of our children- take simple, common sense health decisions and turn them into political ones. As a Republican, it disgusts me to see my party side with big business on these issues.

I do not mention politics often, because I do not believe that the issues this blog is committed to promoting (natural health, conservation, environmentalism and social responsibility) are political ones. To me they are personal, and even spiritual. They are the common concerns that bring us together as human beings in spite of our differences, and should bridge that great political divide between left and right. However, as citizens of this country we have a responsibility to make sure that the decisions made by legislators reflect the will of the people more than that of the lobbyists. Our leaders will listen to the loudest voices. Let's make sure those voices are ours.

Federal legislation was introduced in March to ban the use of BPA from all food and beverage containers. In order to be successful it needs the support of our local legislators.
The Breast Cancer Fund has made it easy for us to speak up. Follow
this link
to their simple form, and ask your members of Congress to
co-sponsor the Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2009.

Until this ban is approved, take your own precautions and invest in glass and stainless steel containers.
This post included in Real Life's Your Life Your Blog


Rebecca said...

Wow! Well written. Thank you for presenting us with the facts on this issue. I've known some of the dangers of BPA for a while now, but didn't know the events happening on a national scale to combat it. I'm going to make my voice heard to my government, and I'm also gonna post the link to this post on my Facebook status!

Beth @ Spots On My Apples said...

Thanks Rebecca!

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