Originally published at The JustGreen Partnership site.
Advocates applauded Governor Paterson today for signing into law the Bisphenol A-Free Children and Babies Act to end the sale of bisphenol-a-based baby bottles, sippy cups, pacifiers and straws as of December 1st of this year. Both houses of the New York State Legislature unanimously passed at the end of June. Today was the last day for the Governor to sign the measure.
New York is now the seventh state—and by far the largest in both population and economy—to pass phase out of BPA in young children's products, joining Connecticut, Minnesota, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. It will be one of the first state laws to go into effect, however.
In addition, Maine has declared bisphenol-A (BPA) as a "priority chemical" and will institute regulations to phase out its use in children's food and beverage containers and infant formula containers. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is moving forward with similar regulations to cover children's beverage containers. California has BPA legislation pending.
"The passage of the BPA bill is just one part of my overall commitment to making the future better for our children. The problems caused Bisphenol-A can be harmful to a child's health. Studies have shown that BPA has been linked to early onset puberty, polycystic ovary syndrome and breat and prostate cancer," said Senator Antoine Thompson, Chair of the New York State Senate Environmental Conservation Committee.
Assemblymember Steven Englebright (D, Setauket) stated, "The advocates played a powerful role in the passage of this highly significant legislation. We have achieved a very important victory in New York with the passage of the new BPA law. Future generations will be better protected from one of the most ubiquitous and dangerous chemicals currently in use worldwide based on what we have accomplished today!"
"Children are more sensitive to and are at an increased risk from chemical exposure. We must act to protect children's health from unnecessary toxic chemicals found in everyday products. It's time to put health concerns first. The BPA restriction in baby products is an important step in the right direction" said Assemblyman Bob Sweeney, Chair, New York State Assembly Committee on Environmental Conservation.
"As the sponsor of Albany County's BPA bill, I'm very excited to see the State Legislature finally act on BPA," said Bryan Clenahan, Albany County Legislator. "I'm also glad to see that counties like Albany can continue to play a leadership role in taking action on other forms of our exposures to BPA. It's important that this issue can continue to be addressed from the grassroots up."
BPA is used to make rigid polycarbonate plastic, including for cups, bottles, straws, and other containers and utensils. It is also used to make flexible epoxy linings for canned goods, as part of the paper used for credit card receipts and numerous other applications. Because of its widespread use, BPA is detected in 93% of Americans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, with younger children having higher levels than adults. In separate studies, infants have been shown to have the highest levels of all.
Over 200 laboratory studies have found connections between low doses of BPA and a wide range of health effects, including obesity, infertility in males and females, brain dysfunctions, thyroid disruption, heart disease, diabetes and prostate and breast cancer.
"It's hard enough to protect and nurture my daughter without having to worry that the bottles I use to feed her are harboring a toxic chemical that could affect her health for the rest of her life," said Kelly Allard, mother of three-month-old Brynne. "I thank the Governor for signing the Bisphenol A-Free Children and Babies Act into law. Mothers across the state will thank you for making their job a little bit easier and their children healthier."
"Despite ferocious opposition from the chemical industry, manufacturers and some retailers, New York State has acted to ban the synthetic hormone bisphenol-a from the products that are most likely to expose infants and toddlers to this toxic chemical. BPA is a dangerous chemical and New York's actions will not only protect state residents, but also help the global efforts to remove toxics from consumer products," said NYPIRG Legislative Counsel Russ Haven.
"The Bisphenol-A Children and Babies Act is a victory for the residents of northern Manhattan. The 99 cents stores that northern Manhattan residents frequent will no longer be a cause of toxic terror. Safe children's products are a right that should be afforded to all people regardless of race and/or income," said Sharonda Williams, Environmental Policy and Advocacy Coordinator for WE ACT for Environmental Justice.
"One in seven New Yorkers has a learning disability, and bisphenol-a is one of the chemicals implicated in learning disabilities and other neurological impairment. If we can eliminate young children's exposures to products made with BPA, it is a step in the right direction. We thank Governor Paterson for signing the Bisphenol A-Free Children and Babies Act," said Stephen Boese, Executive Director of the Learning Disabilities Association of New York State.
"Thank you, Governor Paterson, for signing into law the bisphenol-a-free children and babies act (S 3296H/A 6919D). This is a historic win for the families of New York State. Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition, Inc. applauds this measure as an important first step to reducing our exposure to the endocrine disruptor BPA," said Karen Miller of Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition, Inc.
"Protecting children from unnecessary exposure to endocrine disrupting BPA is a policy for which so many of us have fought so hard for so long, we're thrilled to be celebrating this victory," said Kathy Curtis, Policy Director for Clean New York. "Thanks to Governor Paterson, New York's children will be safer. But this is just one dangerous chemical, in one product sector - more action is needed at the state and federal level."
"This bill will protect New York's children from toxic chemicals. We applaud the Governor for taking this step to protect our families and our environment," said Saima Anjam of Environmental Advocates of New York.
"The signing of this legislation into law is a significant victory for our most vulnerable population. It will improve the future health of our children and in the long run, improve overall public health. We applaud the Governor and our legislators for this positive affirmation of our State's health and well being," said Thomas J. Lowe, RN, MPH, COHN-S, Director of Health and Safety for the New York State Nurses Association.
"This victory reflects the legitimate growing concern over BPA. We commend the NY state legislature for taking this important action and hope it will set a precedent for other states to follow and for future action to ban BPA in all food contact substances," said Urvashi Rangan, PhD, Director of Technical Policy for Consumers Union.
Maia Boswell-Penc, Mother and author of Tainted Milk: Breastmilk, Feminisms and the Politics of Environmental Degradation , said: "I want to thank Senator Thompson and Assemblyman Englebright for their hard work! This is a welcome and important piece of legislation! Parents have so much to worry about in our fast-paced society. It is such a relief to know that now we don't have to worry about whether or not the products our children use to drink from, and to suck on are safe for their developing bodies and sensitive systems."
Government agencies across Europe, including Germany, Denmark and France have taken positions in favor of reducing BPA exposure, especially for young children. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has concurred with the National Toxicology Program's determination that there is cause for "some concern" about BPA's role in cancer, neurological and reproductive problems. Based on this, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued recommendations for parents to reduce or avoid BPA exposures through food and beverage containers, including baby bottles.The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has drafted an Action Plan to address BPA.