California Assembly Passes BPA Bill on 2nd Try

Finally, the California State Assembly passed the Toxin-Free Toddlers and Babies Act—SB 797—to ban the polycarbonate chemical <"">bisphenol A (BPA) from baby products, such as canned formula, for children age three and younger, the LA Times just reported. The bill passed, after a prior failed attempt, on Thursday.

SP 797 was introduced in 2009 and failed in the Assembly that September; the bill was written by Senator Fran Pavley (Democrat-Agoura Hills). Senator Pavley urged reconsideration and, last week, the measure passed and will receive a reconciliation vote in the Senate this August, said the LA Times. In August, the bill could then reach Governor Schwarzenegger for signature. According to a spokesman for Governor Schwarzenegger, he has not expressed a position on the bill, wrote the LA Times.

Late last month, the BPA ban failed to pass California’s State Assembly by only four votes. The bill, which narrowly passed in the state Senate last year, would ban BPA in baby bottles, sippy cups, and food containers

Industry insists that scientists and consumer advocates are exaggerating the adverse effects of the plastic-hardening, estrogenic chemical, continually citing two industry studies. But, pointed 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 recently.

“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. LA Times just wrote the Shestek continues to oppose the ban saying, “We don’t believe that the Legislature … should be in the business of making decisions on these complex scientific questions,” he said. “That’s why they created the Green Chemistry Initiative to state scientists can evaluate chemicals in consumer products,” quoted the LA Times. The Green Chemistry Initiative, a bill that passed the California Legislature in September 2008, requires the California Department of Toxic Substances Control to list chemicals of “concern” and to place the responsibility of testing on those substances on that agency and not on industry, explained the LA Times.

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.

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