Washington State Latest to Restrict BPA

Following a trend in which states, counties, and other entities have decided not to wait for a federal ban on <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/toxic_substances">bisphenol A—BPA—in products geared to certain demographics, Washington State is issuing its own ban. Washington is the fifth state in the country to ban BPA in plastic products targeted to children as well as in water bottles, reported InfoZone.

Some manufacturers, such as baby bottle makers; Canada; and the European Union also have bans in place in advance of any sweeping regulations. Most recently, Wisconsin banned BPA in some children’s items sold in that state, with Governor Jim Doyle signed the bill into law, said The Associated Press (AP); the Washington State bill will be signed by Governor Christine Gregoire on Friday, wrote InfoZone.

The Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Chicago bans apply to bottles and sippy cups for children aged three and younger; the Connecticut law does not have an age limit, said the AP.

In Washington, the ban will apply to the manufacture, sale, and distribution of plastic containers made with BPA and meant for food and beverages for children under the age of three, for instance baby bottles and sippy cups, said InfoZone. A House amendment was just included to also include plastic sports bottles, said InfoZone with the ban scheduled for July 1, 2011, and the ban on BPA in sports bottles effective July 1, 2012.

“Given the existing and growing body of scientific knowledge about the health risks of BPA to consumers—and the growing consumer and industry movement again this chemical—we strongly support Washington’s action to protect public health and ban BPA from baby bottles and sports bottles,” said Dr. Urvashi Rangan, Technical Director for Policy, Consumers Union, quoted InfoZone. “Consumers Union believes that that there is enough scientific evidence to date to warrant a ban on BPA in all food contact products now.”

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.

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.

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