BPA Ban Fails in California

A ban on the polycarbonate plastics chemical <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/toxic_substances">bisphenol A (BPA) did not pass again in California’s state assembly, ABC Local reports. This time, the bill fell four votes short.

In September we wrote that the California bill to ban BPA in baby bottles, sippy cups, and food containers that, twice, did not meet the required 41 votes, failed again and was being put off until this year. The bill, which narrowly passed in the state Senate last year and received a majority of votes both times in the California Assembly, simply did not muster the votes needed to pass. The ban failed again this week.

Expectant mothers are among those seeking passage of the bill and are receiving support from Democratic lawmakers who have been working for years to see the BPA ban passed, said ABC Local. “It’s a David and Goliath fight,” said expectant mother Melissa Walthers, quoted ABC Local. “I think at the end of the day, our legislators should be making decisions that protect children over anything else,” Walthers added.

BPA is known to imitate the hormone estrogen, acts as an anti-androgen, and is also known to affect sexual development and processes, especially in developing fetuses, infants, and children. Hundreds of studies have linked BPA to cardiovascular disease, intestinal problems, brain cell connection interference, increased risks of reproductive and immune system diseases and disorders, problems with liver function testing, interruptions in chemotherapy treatment, premature puberty, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and erectile dysfunction and male sexual problems. In urine tests, BPA is found in the overwhelming majority of Americans, more than 93 percent and, significantly, the chemical is found in 90 percent of all newborns.

Industry believes that scientists and consumer advocates are exaggerating the adverse effects of the plastic-hardening, estrogenic chemical, continually citing two industry studies. But, points out the LA Times, previously, over 200 peer-reviewed studies have linked BPA to health problems. Regardless, the American Chemistry Council cited more studies. Last year, the Council spent over $5 million to influence Sacramento, noted ABC Local.

“The collective data from international scientific bodies has concluded that BPA is safe as used,” said Tim Shestek, senior director of the American Chemistry Council, reported ABC Local. “Again, this is a political decision, not something that’s being made by scientific fact,” quoted ABC Local.

State Senator Fran Pavley (Democrat-Santa Monica) talked to undecided lawmakers, citing the studies linking BPA to adverse health reactions. “I think most would err on the side of precaution when it comes to young children and pregnant women,” said Pavley, wrote ABC Local. Pavley has until the end of August to pull in the missing votes.

Most recently, lawmakers and environmental advocates urged New York’s Governor David Paterson to sign a bill banning BPA in sippy cups, pacifiers, and other products geared to children. The legislation just passed with a unanimous vote in the Senate and Assembly.

In addition to a variety of states, BPA has been banned or limited in three countries: Canada, Denmark, and France. Bans are also in place in Australia, and New Zealand and last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it would be launching a study to look at the health effects of BPA.

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