Senator Schumer Pushes EPA to Restrict BPA

United States Senator, Charles E. Schumer (Democrat-New York) just announced that he is urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider its decision to delay regulatory action on <"">bisphenol A—BPA—the ubiquitous, estrogenic mimicking chemical. BPA, an endocrine disrupter, is in a class of both natural and man-made chemicals that can interfere or mimic those human hormones that regulate development and growth. BPA was developed in the 1930s as an estrogenic mimicker and is used in the industrial manufacture of plastics.

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reversed its position that BPA was safe for all saying it has “some concern” about BPA’s effects on the brain; behavior; and prostates of fetuses, infants, and young children, said the Journal Sentinel. But, on the heels of a meeting between chemical industry lobbyists and Obama administration officials, federal regulators at the EPA are doing what seems to be a bit of a back track regarding the inclusion of BPA in its regulation of dangerous chemicals.

The estrogenic, industrial chemical—a polycarbonate plastic byproduct—is found in many common consumer products.

Countless established and emerging reports continue to confirm that the chemical appears to cause significant disruption to the body’s endocrine system and has been linked to cardiovascular disease, intestinal problems, and brain cell connection interference. BPA has also been connected to 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. “British scientists have linked BPA to heart disease, diabetes and liver-enzyme abnormalities,” said Reuters.

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. Also, studies have overwhelmingly found BPA to have negative effects at doses lower than current FDA standards; retention in the body longer than was previously believed; leeching into liquids being held in containers regardless of the containers’ temperature; and longer lasting damage, which some feel can be passed to future generations. Now, states; counties; and other entities, including some manufacturers; Canada; and the European Union, are taking matters into their own hands by banning the estrogenic chemical in a variety of uses and for certain demographics.

Meanwhile, Senator Schumer is pushing the EPA to explain why it just omitted BPA form a list of chemicals that require stricter regulation writing, in part, “I strongly believe our government should err on the side of caution and deploy the most safeguards possible against the potentially harmful effects of BPA. In light of the serious risks posed by exposure to this chemical, the EPA’s decision to postpone action on BPA does not seem to convey the proper sense of urgency.” As Schumer pointed out and we previously wrote, the agency does not intend to develop a new regulatory BPA plan for at least two years.

Schumer’s “BPA-Free Kids Act” seeks to prohibit BPA in any food and beverage containers marketed to infants and toddlers ages three and under, such as baby bottles, sippy cups, bowls, plates, other containers, and utensils. The ban, which is detailed in the senator’s letter to the EPA
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