The toxic chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, has been scientifically linked to adverse health conditions in over 200 studies. Just recently, I reported on one showing a clear link between BPA exposure and decreases in sperm quality and quantity. But BPA has also been linked to prostate cancer, breast cancer, birth defects, early puberty in girls, diabetes, digestive issues, and obesity.
BPA is especially threatening to babies and young children because their bodies are developing so fast.
For these reasons, there was reportedly broad bi-partisan support to include a ban on BPA in baby bottles and infant feeding cups in the Food Safety Modernization Act… until the chemical industry quickly swooped in and turned things around (who knows how?).
American Chemistry Council Blocks BPA Ban in Baby Bottles
The American Chemistry Council blocked introduction of this ban into the Act a couple weeks ago and it was all over from there, despite organizations representing 40 million Americans, including the Breast Cancer Fund, National WIC Association, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Consumer’s Union, Environmental Working Group (EWG), the Blue-Green Alliance, the American Nurses Association, and U.S. PIRG, supporting the ban.
As Janet Nudelman, policy director at the Breast Cancer Fund (the organization leading the national coalition that advocated for the ban), soberly states:
It’s a sad day when the chemical industry muscles out children’s health and safety. Once again we see the American Chemistry Council prioritize the profits of chemical companies over the public’s health. It is not fair that our nation’s children are on the losing side of this equation.
Senator Feinstein, also a key champion of the proposed ban, disappointedly but with determination as well said:
The evidence against BPA is mounting, especially its harmful effects on babies and children who are still developing. I very much regret that the chemical industry puts a higher priority on selling chemicals than on the health of infants. I will not cease in my efforts to remove BPA from products where it can harm human health, and I urge consumers to vote with their pocketbooks by refusing to purchase products that contain BPA.
Let’s hope that sooner or later these informed and concerned leaders will be able to get passed the chemical industry’s powerful lobby.
You Can Help the U.S. Drop BPA
Of course, there’s something you can do to help remove BPA from our society, even without a legal ban: don’t buy products with BPA in them. And, especially if you have a baby, buy BPA-free baby products.
Numerous large companies have already taken the lead on this issue in response to consumer demand or common sense, so don’t worry that your efforts can’t have an impact. Leading retailers like CVS, Kmart, Safeway, Toys R Us, and Walmart have dedicated themselves to not selling BPA-containing baby bottles. And even chemical manufacturer Sunoco will no longer sell BPA to companies making products for kids under the age of 3.
We definitely need a nationwide ban on this chemical, for all ages, but until then, you can do your part by shopping responsibly.
Photo Credit: dulcelife via flickr (CC license)