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DPH votes to ban BPA in baby bottles and cups...only

Posted on Dec 15, 2010
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Babywithbottle250_altToday the Public Health Council of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health voted unanimously to ban toxic BPA in baby bottles and cups, making Massachusetts the 8th state to do so.  However, this measure is inadequate as it still leaves infants and toddlers vulnerable to exposure to the toxic BPA in infant formula and baby food packaging.  It also does nothing to reduce exposure to pregnant women, problematic because a significant time for concern about BPA exposure is during fetal development. 

Produced in quantities of about six billion pounds each year worldwide, BPA is one of the most widely used chemicals of all time. During the past decade, an explosion of research has explored the connections between BPA exposure particularly before birth and in early childhood and the health problems that are increasingly afflicting U.S. residents. In particular exposure to BPA before birth has been found in laboratory studies to predispose animals to cancer; alter brain development; and lead to early puberty in female animals. Male animals exposed in the womb produce less testosterone, have larger prostate glands, and make fewer sperm than unexposed animals. Studies have also shown a correlation between BPA and obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular problems.

Since 2008, the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow has called on the Patrick administration to regulate BPA in infant formula and baby food packaging and all reusable food and beverage containers at a minimum.  Connecticut and Vermont have both passed laws that do that.

Members of the council today expressed interest in regularly reviewing information about BPA as it becomes available and left the door open to further regulatory action in the future.

Below are the responses from many of the citizens, advocates and medical professionals who have worked hard on this campaign.

"This regulation is a wholly inadequate response from the Patrick administration and will do little to protect children's health.  Manufacturers have largely removed BPA baby bottles and cups from the marketplace.  This is a missed opportunity to take real strides to reduce exposure to this endocrine disrupter.  We hope that they will revisit this issue and won't stop here." - Elizabeth Saunders, Legislative Director, Clean Water Action

“I am sorry that the council was inconsistent about limiting children’s exposure to BPA. If BPA is harmful it only makes sense to limit BPA’s presence in all food contact materials that cause potential exposure to children.” - Dr. Hilary Branch, Director, Baystate Pediatric Environmental Health Clinic in Springfield

“In low income communities like Holyoke it's especially a slap in the face to have the regulation stop at baby bottles and cups.  When companies start to develop and sell safer products, those become available in higher end stores first, while the stores in more disadvantaged communities continue to carry the toxic products.  With this void in government regulation remaining, our children are going to be the most hurt by BPA for the longest time.” - Giovanna Di Chiro, Environmental Programs Director for Nuestras Raices in Holyoke

“Countries have banned this chemical.  As an educated consumer and a mother, what are we waiting for?  I am frustrated and utterly confused that children’s protection is in competition with generating revenue.  BPA stands for Bad Poison all Around to me” - Cheryl Durr Patry of Medfield Green

“The PHC should have voted in favor of protecting our children; considering the statements by the federal government and hundreds of scientists regarding BPA's effects.” - Debbie Fastino of Coalition for Social Justice

“We are disappointed that the Public Health Council chose not to restrict BPA found in food containers intended for babies. Their own publication indicates potential harm to a developing baby when exposed to this endocrine disrupting chemical. This was a missed opportunity to protect public health.” - Martha Dansdill, spokesperson for HealthLink and Swampscott Board of Health member

"MBCC is deeply disappointed that the PHC did not step up to the plate to protect the public's health to the fullest extent possible. BPA has repeatedly been linked to the development of breast cancer and needs to be taken off the market. We can only hope that Mass. will catch up to other states in regulating BPA soon." - Deborah Shields, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition