By Jack Schatz
California Gov. Jerry Brown announced today that he has signed a bill that will ban the use of Bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles and sippy cups made or sold in California.
California Assembly Bill 1319, also known as the Toxin Free Infants and Toddlers Act, passed in the state Senate on August 30. The bill prohibits the manufacture or sale of baby bottles and sippy cups made from containing more than 0.1 parts per billion of BPA, a chemical used in hard plastic containers, starting on July 1, 2013. It would also require manufacturers to use the least toxic alternative substance for these products.
The legislation, sponsored by the Environmental Working Group and authored by State Assembly member Betsy Butler (D-Marina Del Ray) and State Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), passed in the state Senate by a margin of 21-12.
Assemblywoman Butler, who introduced the bill, said that BPA harms babies when it leaches from food containers into milk and food. Butler emphasized that children are especially vulnerable to effects of the chemical, which she said is linked to birth defects, reproductive problems, impaired learning, hyperactivity and some cancers.
The bill was supported by several environmental groups, medical professionals, labor unions and consumer groups.
“As physicians and health advocates, we need measures like AB 1319 to help reduce exposure to BPA since babies and children are most vulnerable to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, ”said Martha Dina Argüello, Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles.
The measure was opposed by chemical manufacturers, employers and industry groups, including the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Manufacturers and Technology Association and the American Chemistry Council.
Opponents argued BPA is safe in small amounts and that regulation of it would interfere with the mission of the California Green Chemistry Initiative, which created an administrative process to regulate harmful chemicals in consumer products. Opponents of the legislation also argued that the bill could expose companies to lawsuits if the chemical is found in baby products after the ban takes effect.
Brown’s approval of the measure makes California the 11th state to enact some type of ban on BPA in consumer products. Canada, China, Brazil, South Africa and the European Union have also instituted similar bans on BPA in children’s products.