Vermont Institutes Latest BPA Ban

This week, Vermont Governor James Douglas signed into law what is considered to be among this country’s most stringent bans on food containers manufactured with <"">bisphenol A—BPA—wrote Times Argus. The estrogenic hormone mimicker can be found in everything from nautical paints to thermal paper receipts to canned food linings and appears to be affecting us with much more frequency and ferocity than some prevailing information indicates.

A plastic hardener used in polycarbonate manufacturing, BPA is commonly found in the lining of food and beverage cans, a wide array of plastic products, thermal paper, and resins used in nautical paint. And, while it has long been recognized that BPA affects animal hormone levels, science points to the same issues in humans.

Hundreds and 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 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.

BPA 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.

“Vermont is now the second state to take this step and there are four other states that will take some other action to limit baby bottles and sippy cups containing BPA,” explained Paul Burns, the executive director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group, quoted TimesArgus. The bill was signed into law on Wednesday; however, some provisions will not become effective until 2012 and 2014 to enable retailers time to remove BPA-laden items from store shelves, and manufacturers to eliminate items containing BPA from being shipped to Vermont, said TimesArgus.

BPA has been banned in baby bottles and formula in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and last year, the World Health Organization said it would be launching a study to look at the health effects of BPA, wrote TimesArgus. Canada was the first country to issue a BPA ban, Denmark recently followed, four U.S. states have issued bans, and France is considering a ban.

Meanwhile, a national report by the Public Interest Research Group involved a review of 50 cans of food from 20 people in 19 states—one of which was Vermont—to test for BPA, said Times Argus. The research found that meals that used canned foods could cause one to consumer greater BPA level than those levels considered dangerous in animals, explained TimesArgus. We mentioned previously that the study found that detectable levels of the chemical showed up in 46 out of 50 grocery store cans tested, suggesting BPA routinely leaches from can linings into the food stored in the can, said WebMD.

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.

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