An Act prohibiting the use of bisphenol-A (BPA) in consumer products
Sponsor: Senator Karen Spilka
Assigned to the Joint Committee on Public Health
BPA is one of the most widely produced chemicals in the world. It is commonly used to make polycarbonate, which is a clear hard plastic found in consumer products such as baby bottles and food containers. BPA is also used to make epoxy resins, which act as a protective lining on the inside of cans, and a coating on cash register receipts. BPA can leach into food, formula, and beverages, especially when heated. BPA also gathers in household dust and air. BPA has been found in umbilical cord blood and urine samples, and is known to be an endocrine disrupter. It has been shown to have a multitude of negative health effects even at low doses. BPA can affect brain and reproductive development and is linked to health problems including diabetes, obesity, Down’s syndrome and cancer.
There may be an unwelcome guest at your Thanksgiving table this year: toxic bisphenol-A. A new report by the Breast Cancer Fund has found this endocrine disrupting chemical in canned foods used to prepare a typical Thanksgiving dinner.
BPA in Thanksgiving Canned Food shows the results from testing four cans each of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup; Campbell’s Turkey Gravy; Carnation Evaporated Milk (by Nestle); Del Monte Fresh Cut Sweet Corn, Cream Style; Green Giant Cut Green Beans (by General Mills); Libby’s Pumpkin (by Nestle); and Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce. One set of cans was purchased in Massachusetts. Single servings of almost half of the products tested had levels of BPA comparable to levels that laboratory studies have shown may cause health problems.Read more...
In March the Newton, Massachusetts based Silent Spring Institute published a new study that is the first to show that food packaging is the major source of people’s exposure to the hormone disruptors BPA and DEHP, and that a fresh food diet reduces levels in adults and children by half, after just three days. The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives on March 30.
BPA and DEHP are hormone disruptors—chemicals that may affect breast and other hormonal cancers, reproduction, and development. DEHP and two other phthalates measured in this study were recently banned under Europe’s REACH regulation because of concerns about reproductive toxicity.
The good news is that this study provides clear evidence that can guide solutions. The findings show that replacing these chemicals with safer alternatives would significantly reduce exposures for most people. It's a clear guideline for individuals working to protect themselves and their families from toxic chemicals.
The problem, is that it's not a guideline that everyone can to follow.Read more...
Today 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.
A new study was released giving new meaning to the phrase "toxic assets." On The Money: BPA on Dollar Bills and Receipts set out to investigate the extent to which thermal receipt paper containing bisphenol A (BPA) has permeated the market, and whether this hormone-disrupting chemical is escaping onto the money that lies close to these receipts in people's wallets.
Researchers found that half of the thermal paper receipts tested had large quantities of unbound BPA; 95% of the dollar bills tested positive for lower amounts. Unlike BPA in baby bottles and other products, BPA on thermal paper isn't chemically bound in any way: it's a powdery film on the surface of receipts. Data from this report indicate that this highly toxic chemical does not, in fact, stay on the paper, but rather easily transfers to our skin and likely to other items that it rubs against.Read more...
In mid November, the federal government got closer than it's ever been to a ban on Bisphenol-A (BPA) in baby bottles and sippy cups -- and failed.
The amendment's sponsor was Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). She had brokered an agreement between many in the Senate -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- and had obtained agreement from important trade associations like the Grocery Manufacturers association to add a BPA amendment to the Food Safety Modernization Act (a bill which is addressing food recalls and tainted products).
While the Food Safety Bill is continuing to be pushed through, it will be without the BPA amendment.
Though Senator Feinstein had reached a compromise with Senate Republicans and the amendment looked well on its way to inclusion, strong last minute pressure from the American Chemistry Council (ACC) caused the amendment's votes to fall.Read more...
This report surveyed companies about their packaging practices and analyzed them based on their disclosure of information, exploration of alternatives, and commitment to removing BPA from their packaging.
The results: our efforts to phase out BPA and replace it with safer alternatives are starting to move the market!Read more...
This week advocates for children's health testified at two hearings before the Department of Public Health (DPH) about their proposed Bisphenol A (BPA) regulation. Out of the 26 people who testified, 23 testified in support of expanding the regulation and only three were against the regulation.
Supporters came from all over the state to testify before the DPH. Some brought their children. Laura Donnelly gave her testimony in Boston with her youngest child in her lap. He was born with hypospadias, a birth defect in which the opening of the urethra is on the underside of the penis. Hypospadias is linked to early BPA exposure in the womb.
"I'm furious I was not told the canned food I was eating was poisoning my unborn child," Laura said. She then asked the DPH to take BPA out of the entire food supply.Read more...
The food in your pantry might not be as safe as you think. Meals involving one or more cans of food can cause an individual to ingest levels of BPA that have been shown to cause health effects in laboratory animal studies, according to a new study released today by The National Workgroup for Safe Markets, a coalition of public health and environmental health groups.
The study, No Silver Lining, tested food from 50 cans from 19 US states and one Canadian province for BPA contamination. Over 90% of the cans tested had detectable levels of BPA, some at higher levels than have been detected in previous studies.Read more...
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Public Health Council (PHC) met this morning to hear a presentation on the limited phase-out of BPA that Governor Patrick has directed. As we expected, DPH staff proposed a limited ban on reusable food and beverage containers containing BPA and intended for use by children three and under, which would mean baby bottles and sippy cups. PHC members asked some questions of DPH staff, but have not yet recommend further action.
The DPH staff members made it very clear that this limited proposal is based on direction from Governor Patrick.Read more...
Last week AHT organized a BPA week of action to ask Governor Patrick for a phase-out of BPA in products for which there are safer alternatives. These products include infant formula cans and reusable food and beverage containers.
During the week of action, over 600 people called the Governor to voice this message, making the week a big success! We also received a lot of positive feedback from our supporters. Thanks to all of you who called and who recruited others to call. We all showed that when people take a little time to take action, it can really add up.Read more...
Next week, everyone in Massachusetts has a really important opportunity to make a difference and get BPA out of our children’s products.
The week of April 5th, AHT is organizing a BPA Call-in-Week to Governor Patrick—and he needs to hear from you and your friends!
In preparation, here is a little reminder of why we’re so concerned about BPA.
The history of BPA: A hormone in the plastic
Bisphenol A or BPA was synthesized in a lab in 1891. In the 1930s, it was discovered that BPA mimics the hormone estrogen. It was not until the 1940s and 50s that the chemical was used to manufacture polycarbonate plastic (baby bottles, sippy cups, teethers, toys, pacifiers, water bottles and utensils to name a few) and epoxy resins (which line cans of baby formula and other canned foods). Today, BPA is a multibillion dollar industry and a countless number of consumer products contain BPA.
Yesterday, Governor Deval Patrick announced new progress on the phase-out of BPA baby products. He directed the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) to prepare a regulation to ban the sale of household products containing BPA. The Boston Globe published a great story today on the Governor’s announcement. This is a big step forward towards protecting the health of all developing children!
We have all worked so hard over the past two years to get to this point. Thank you so much to everyone who helped thus far. Thousands of parents across the state have expressed outrage that they unknowingly fed their infants a hormone disrupting chemical in their baby formula and your voice has been heard.
Today the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced an update to its position on BPA (bisphenol-A), the toxic chemical that we are exposed to through baby bottles, sippy cups, infant formula and food can linings and many other sources.
FDA states that there is "some concern" about the safety of BPA for humans, and that they will work with other agencies to conduct further research. In conjunction with the FDA announcement, the US Department of Health and Human Services posted tips for parents to minimize children's exposure (such as to dispose of scratched or worn baby bottles).The agency was criticized by its own science review panel for its 2008 determination that products containing BPA were safe but the new announcement says, Read more...
Yesterday the Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued a warning to parents and prospective parents: keep the chemical BPA away from your children, and stay away from it if you're pregnant.
According to a DPH press release, "DPH is specifically advising parents and caretakers of children up to two years old to avoid the use of products that contain BPA for making or storing infant formula and breast milk. DPH is further advising pregnant and breastfeeding women to avoid products that may contain BPA."
AHT has been calling on the state to ban BPA in children's products since last summer. The Massachsuetts DPH has the legal authority to ban the the sale of toxic household products that are hazardous to children. I know that all of us in the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow and our citizen activists are glad that this warning has been issued, and we now we're eager for the next step (a ban!). Mia Davis of Clean Water Action articulated this sentiment in today's front page Boston Globe story:Read more...
In California this week, a science advisory panel declared in a unanimous ruling that BPA should not be listed as a female or male reproductive or developmental toxicant. The science advisory panel in this case is the Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant (DART) Identification Committee and their job is to advise regulators in the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) on what chemicals should be put on a list.
The list in question is called Proposition 65, which was established by the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986. Proposition 65 demands that the state publish a list of chemicals known to cause developmental and reproductive toxicity.
Last week, Gov. M. Jodi Rell signed a bill that made Connecticut the first state to ban the chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA) from infant formula and baby food cans and jars, as well as the full range of reusable food and beverage containers! The BPA bill passed with only one vote cast in opposition. It was truly a bipartisan victory!
Now two Republican Governors, in Connecticut and Minnesota (did not include baby food cans), have signed laws banning BPA in children's products. The people of Massachusetts deserve the same protection as the people in these states. We don't even need to pass a law! So it should be much easier to do in Massachusetts.
A new study released online on May 12th, 2009 in the journal of Environmental Health Perspectives tested the urine of 77 Harvard students for bisphenol-A (BPA) who drank cold beverages from polycarbonate beverage containers.
The study found that one week of polycarbonate bottle use increased urinary BPA concentrations by two thirds. Thus, regular consumption of cold beverages from polycarbonate bottles is associated with a substantial increase in urinary BPA concentrations irrespective of exposure to BPA form other sources.
Why is this important?Read more...
Boston Globe coverage of the BPA issue continues!
On Sunday, March 29th, there were three letters to the editor published in the Globe supporting for a ban on BPA in children's products.
Industry groups seeking to dupe the public into thinking that BPA is safe also got two letters published. These were from representatives of the Grocery Manufacturer's Association and the American Chemistry Council.Read more...
Event covered on the front page of The Boston Globe
On Thursday, March 19th, 2009 about 30 parents and advocates from different parts of the State delivered 8,490 messages to the Governor at the MA State House. Some of those messages were delivered in baby bottles.
We said loud and clear that we want baby products free of toxic chemical BPA!
On Friday morning, there we were on the front page of the Boston Globe waiting to deliver petition signatures. Not shabby coverage at all!Read more...
Continuing to demonstrate its reluctance to regulate toxic chemicals in consumer products, the Food and Drug Administration announced that additional time was required to assess whether it is safe to use bisphenol A (BPA) in food containers.
Though the move may be considered a relative improvement over its previous assertion that BPA is safe, the FDA has ignored a growing body of scientific evidence that BPA is harmful to humans even in low exposures.
Many states have grown impatient as the Federal government has dawdled on the issue.Read more...
Are Safer Alternatives Available?
Glass and food grade stainless steel are the only known SAFE alternatives available at this time. We recommend avoiding plastics with the "7" recycling symbol or PC on the bottom of the container.
Many companies have already responded to consumer demand by replacing BPA in their polycarbonate plastics with an alternate plastic.
It is important to note that many new plastics have not been tested for safety - another reason we need more regulation over consumer products.Read more...
Hundreds of rodent studies performed in government-funded, independent laboratories have found that exposure to BPA causes damage to our body systems that can cause serious health problems. In scientific studies, BPA-exposed animals have altered development of the male and female reproductive tracts, mammary tissues, the immune system, the fat tissue, and the thyroid.
These animals are also at heightened risk of mammary and prostate cancers. Finally, BPA-exposed animals have altered brain development, increased aggression in adulthood, abnormal play and sexual behaviors, and decreased maternal behaviors (Richter et al, 2007).Read more...
Why all the recent press on BPA (Bisphenol A)?
#1. Health Canada has announced that BPA is a dangerous substance.
#2. The U.S. National Toxicology Program has stated in their report on BPA that there is "some concern for neural and behavioral effects in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposure."
Where do you find BPA?
BPA is found in polycarbonate plastic, which is widely used for a number of consumer products.Read more...