Wisconsin Considering BPA Ban

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Interstate film Wisconsin is the third state to introduce a bill to ban <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/toxic_substances">(BPA) bisphenol A-containing baby bottle and sippy cup sales for children. The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reported that the bill is being introduced today and would require baby bottles and sippy cup manufacturers and retailers to label products as BPA-free.

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Earlier this month, California voted on a similar bill that is in the Assembly, and New York’s Suffolk County, Chicago, Minnesota, and Connecticut all have similar bans in effect. Health officials in Massachusetts are in talks, key members in the U.S. House and Senate introduced legislation for a federal ban on BPA in all food and beverage containers, and 24 states have bills in the works to restrict the toxin. Canada was the first country to announce plans to ban BPA.

Industry has long argued that BPA is safe at current dosages; however, the ubiquitous chemical—a plastic, estrogen mimicking additive in use since the 1950s—has been linked to an increased risk of brain, reproductive, cardiac, and immune system diseases and disorders; problems with liver function testing; and interruptions in chemotherapy treatment. BPA is also associated with serious health problems based on over 200 studies which found it to have negative effects at “very low doses,” lower than the FDA’s current safety standards. Studies also revealed BPA stays in the body longer than previously believed. According to an earlier LA Times piece, a study confirmed what experts have also long suspected, containers made with BPA leach the chemical into the liquids being held, even when not heated.

Although the California proposal narrowly passed the state Senate, lawmakers in Wisconsin see no problem in the legislation passing there. State Senator Julie Lassa (Democrat-Stevens Point) introduced the legislation with state Representative Kelda Roys (Democrat-Madison) and said, “I don’t think it should be a problem,” speaking of the bill’s passage, adding, “We’re talking about children’s health. That is pretty much a bipartisan issue,” quoted the Journal Sentinel. As a matter-of-fact, a number of environmental and consumer advocacy groups—the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group, the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, Wisconsin Environment, Clean Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Parent Teacher Association—all support the move, said the Journal Sentinel.

“This is a chemical that we have been very concerned about for years,” said Bruce Speight, an advocate at the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group, a nonprofit consumer rights group. “Parents shouldn’t have to be chemists to figure out what is in the bottles that they use to feed their babies,” quoted the Journal Sentinel.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has long maintained that BPA is safe despite that the agency relied solely on two industry-funded studies for its draft review, something for which the FDA has been severely criticized. Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that newly appointed FDA commissioner, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, said the agency is reconsidering its decision that BPA is safe at current levels, especially those found in baby bottles.

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Dr. Hamburg has put the FDA’s acting chief scientist in charge of the review following receipt of a letter from Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee asking the agency to take another look at the decision it made last August regarding the chemical’s alleged safety, said the Journal. The FDA announcement claiming BPA’s safety at current levels was made under the prior administration and has met with harsh criticism, even from its own advisors. Dr. Hamburg said the review should take until the end of this summer or by early this autumn, added the Journal.

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