Senators Propose BPA Ban

While the country awaits word from the federal government on its findings on research conducted on the controversial, estrogen-mimicking chemical <"">bisphenol A—BPA— U.S., Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, both Democrats from New York, proposed legislation to ban the chemical from products used by children and expectant mothers, said the Epoch Times. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has long promised a ruling on BPA’s safety, yet just missed its self-imposed announcement date. Many believe the agency will request additional study time.

Industry maintains scientists and consumer advocates exaggerate BPA’s adverse effects, continually citing two industry studies; however, at last count, over 900 peer-reviewed studies found links between these effects and BPA. The FDA had maintained BPA was safe, basing its finding on these two studies; however, noted JSOnline, the agency’s science board recommended it had not looked at enough studies and began its review, setting the now-passed deadline.

The Epoch Times, citing a recent Consumer Reports’ study, said BPA is—as we have long been writing—present in an ever-growing number of commonly used products. “This study adds to the mounting evidence that BPA is not only harmful for our children but for an overwhelming majority of Americans,” Schumer said, quoted the Epoch Times. “There have been enough warning signs about the dangers of this chemical that we cannot sit idly by and continue to allow residents across New York City to be exposed. We need to keep this dangerous chemical out of the food chain,” Schumer added.

Developed in the 1930s, the estrogenic mimicker—originally used as a hormone replacement, appears to wreak havoc on the body’s’ endocrine system. In urine tests, BPA is found in the overwhelming majority of Americans, including newborns.

BPA has been connected to increased risks of brain, reproductive, cardiac, and immune system diseases and disorders; problems with liver function testing; interruptions in chemotherapy treatment; and links with serious health problems. Studies have overwhelmingly found BPA to have negative effects at doses lower than current FDA standards; retention in the body longer than first thought; leeching into liquids held in containers regardless of the containers’ temperature; and longer lasting damage, which may be passed to future generations. High levels of exposure to BPA have been linked to erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems in males.

A polycarbonate plastic byproduct, BPA can be found in baby bottles; sippy cups; water bottles; aluminum can linings; eyeglasses; cars; DVD and CD cases; some dental sealants; appliances; windshields; paper receipts; and the plastic lining of frozen food dinners, to name some. On recyclable bottles, BPA, as a component, can be verified if the item contains recycling number 7.

“We have to worry because manufacturers are still using this chemical widely, and it’s getting into our foods,” Schumer said, quoted the Epoch Times, which also noted that last month’s Consumer Report study revealed the chemical was found in foods labeled BPA-free.

The bill, the BPA-Free Kids Act, will prohibit the production and sale of containers produced with BPA and meant for food and beverages for infants and toddlers, said the Epoch Times. Such products containing the chemical will be labeled “banned hazardous substances” under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act, explained the Epoch Times. Also, criminal or civil penalties for violations of the Act—testing, certification, and labeling—will be mandated. The bill provides research funding for five years at $5 million annually to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to look at the chemical’s effects on all age demographics and pregnant women, said the Epoch Times.

“I could not feel a greater sense of urgency on getting the chemical out of the foods our families eat,” Gillibrand said. “They already do this in other countries. If Canada can do it, so can we,” quoted the Epoch Times.

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