ADVERTISEMENT

Proposed bans on BPA picking up steam

At least seven states are considering banning bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in baby bottles and other plastic products that U.S. federal regulators have said is safe but has been banned in Canada because of links to health problems including heart disease and diabetes.

Lawmakers in California, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and Minnesota have proposed restrictions on BPA, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports – part of a periodic series of stories the newspaper is running on the chemical also found in the lining of cans.

The proposed state measures would ban BPA in baby bottles, baby formula cans, cups and other products for kids, according to the newspaper. The House and Senate are also considering bills, introduced by Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), that would slap a federal ban on use of BPA in all food and drink containers.

BPA mimics the female hormone estrogen, and has been found to promote tumor growth and decreased sperm count in rats. It has also been linked to heart disease, diabetes and liver failure, and has been found to linger in the human body, showing up in the blood of 93 percent of 1,469 Americans over age 6 who were tested for it in a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) survey.

A law banning the use of BPA in so-called sippy cups and baby bottles took effect earlier this month in Suffolk County, N.Y., making that Long Island community the first in the U.S. to take such a step. Chicago is considering a similar measure.  In addition, six U.S. companies recently agreed to stop making baby bottles with BPA, which is used produce plastic.

The Canadian law bars BPA from being used in baby bottles and other infant products. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said BPA is safe, though another U.S. agency, the National Toxicology Program, said in a September report that it has “some concern” about its effects on developing fetuses, infants and children. An international consortium of scientists that was recently assembled to review the science on BPA for the German UmweltBundesAmt (that country's equivalent of the Environmental Protection Agency) determined that the research FDA used in its safety assessment was flawed because it failed to consider the chemical's effects on behavior and prostate development, according to a copy of the group's conclusions provided to ScientificAmerican.com. The Journal-Sentinel, which obtained draft copies of the statement and interviewed scientists in the group, first reported on the document Saturday.

Image © iStockohoto/Melker Wickman

Share this Article:

Comments

You must sign in or register as a ScientificAmerican.com member to submit a comment.
Scientific American MIND iPad

Give a Gift & Get a Gift - Free!

Give a 1 year subscription as low as $14.99

Subscribe Now >>

X

Email this Article

X