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BPA update: Wisconsin, Maryland, Washington

Posted by SAFER States on Mar 9, 2010


BPA is contained in some baby bottles and sippy cups.

More than 200 scientific studies have linked Bisphenol-A (BPA) to known health effects including impaired brain and reproductive development in unborn babies, miscarriage in pregnant women, diabetes, obesity and cancer. Populations that are particularly vulnerable to BPA are infants, children and pregnant women.

These sort of facts are frustrating mothers and families, and this year there are a remarkable number of states working on legislation to eliminate BPA-laden products in vulnerable populations.

We have exciting news from several states this week in the effort to ban BPA:

  • Wisconsin signed a law last week limiting BPA use in the state,
  • a Washington state law is expected soon, with a bill awaiting the signature of Governor Gregoire,
  • a bill has passed through the Maryland houses and is sitting on the desk of Governor O'Malley, and
  • Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick asked state officials to look into placing a ban on BPA, including its use in baby bottles and sippy cups.

With laws already on the books in Minnesota and Connecticut, we are looking to have a total of five states with BPA bills in effect very soon.

All bills passed with a mandate in the legislature. Elected officials on both sides of the aisle are voting yes on these important BPA bills which will protect one of the most vulnerable populations -- babies and children under 3.

WASHINGTON

A law is imminent in Washington State which will ban BPA in the state from baby bottles, sippy cups, children's dishware and sports bottles. The bill has passed in the State Senate and House, and Governor Gregoire is expected to sign the bill.

"We're very pleased with today's Senate action. Getting BPA out of children's dishware and sports bottles is commonsense given the mountain of evidence showing BPA is harmful to our health. Parents and other consumers want safer products free of BPA. Hopefully we'll see other products like food cans go BPA-free soon."
- Ivy-Sager Rosenthal, campaign director, Washington Toxics Coalition

Many in the state agree that this is the first of many steps to remove BPA from the lives of Washingtonians. "This is not a huge step," said Senator Karen Keiser. "It is a first step. It's a statement."

WISCONSIN

Last Wednesday, Governor Jim Doyle signed a law banning BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups in the state of Wisconsin which made Wisconsin the third state to ban BPA, protecting children under the age of 3. The law goes into effect in 90 days.

Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group praised the move as a great first step, and Director Bruce Speight commented on the victory:

“Wisconsin is leading the way with today’s signing of the BPA Free Kids Act. This is a historic day for toxics reform, public health and consumer protection, but this is just the first step. Our kids are exposed to thousands of toxics chemicals, most of which are on the market with little to no safety testing. We are just starting to see the health effects; we must build on this important victory for the health of our kids and for the health of all of us.”

MARYLAND

A bill passed through both houses of the Maryland legislature to ban BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups in the state. All signs point to a signature from Governor O'Malley signing the bill into law.

"Baby bottles and sippy cups are one of the greatest sources of exposure to BPA for our little ones, and we commend the Maryland General Assembly for protecting our children from its toxic effects."
- Jenny Levin, environmental health associate, Maryland PIRG

While it is exciting to report such news from the states, the good news is tinged with frustration that there has not been movement against BPA from the federal level. This frustration was articulated by Maryland Senator Frosh, one of the bill sponsors.

"The Food and Drug Administration should have banned BPA in toddler products years ago. Without strong federal leadership, Maryland had no choice but to act."

Further Reading

Mass. to consider a limited BPA ban. Boston Globe, 03/03/10.
Doyle signs bill limiting BPA use. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 03/03/10.
Wisconsin protects kids from toxic BPA. Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group, 03/03/10.
Retailers object to ban on sports bottles with BPA. Puget Sound Business Journal, 03/04/10.
Senate votes ban on BPA in kids' containers. The Seattle Times, 01/29/10.

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