Critics Say Proposed Massachusetts BPA Ban Not Enough

A number of countries, states, and other entities have issued bans on the ubiquitous plastic-hardening chemical <"">bisphenol A—BPA—which imitates the hormone estrogen and acts as an anti-androgen. This means, even in the smallest of amounts, BPA affects sexual development and processes, especially in the bodies of developing fetuses, infants, and children, explained Science Daily previously.

Canada was the first country to issue a BPA ban and Denmark recently followed. Three U.S. states have issued bans and France is considering a ban. One of the three states, Connecticut, made it illegal to sell baby food or formula in containers made with BPA; however, Massachusetts is considering a watered down version, which has many very concerned, said The Patriot Ledger.

BPA is a plastic hardener used in polycarbonate manufacturing, and is commonly found in the lining of food and beverage cans, paper receipts, a wide array of plastic products, and resins used in nautical paint. BPA in nautical paint presents means the chemical could be linked to high BPA levels found in “beach sand and coastal seawater” worldwide, said USNews previously.

On May 12, the Massachusetts Public Health Council, which is that state’s health department’s regulatory arm, will consider a BPA ban, but only from baby bottles and cups, said The Patriot Ledger. This means that formula and baby food containers can contain the controversial chemical. Some 160 interest groups in that state, under the umbrella organization, Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, have requested that the Public Health Council consider a broader ban to follow what Connecticut has enacted and to include packaging used for infant food and formula. “This is the place the state really really needs to go to protect children’s health,” said the group’s spokeswoman, Elizabeth Saunders, quoted The Patriot Ledger.

Hundreds of studies have linked the ubiquitous chemical to a growing number of diseases and disorders and continue to confirm that BPA appears to cause significant disruption to the body’s endocrine system. BPA has also been linked 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, links with serious health problems, and erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems in males. 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 has long argued that scientists and advocates exaggerate BPA’s adverse effects, continually citing two industry studies; however, at last count, over 900 peer-reviewed studies found links between BPA and such effects. The recent study, reported Science Daily, found that babies and infants absorb the most BPA with babies being fed with PC bottles being the most significantly and adversely affected.

Last summer, Massachusetts’ health department issued a consumer advisory that warned pregnant women and mothers of young children against using BPA-containing products when making or storing formula and breast milk, said The Patriot Ledger. Now, according to Saunders, the regulation being sought is considered by some to be largely unnecessary since most baby bottle makers and some key distributors and retailers no longer permit the manufacture or sale of baby bottles containing BPA, said The Patriot Ledger. Advocates disagree.

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