California Senate Approves Ban on BPA in Plastics

Los Angeles Times
Eric Bailey
June 3, 2009

Reporting from Sacramento — Despite a fierce lobbying effort by the U.S. chemical industry, the state Senate narrowly approved a proposal Tuesday that would ban the use of a substance in baby bottles, toddler sippy cups and food containers that independent scientists say is a threat to childhood development.

The bill by state Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) that would prohibit the use of bisphenol A — commonly dubbed BPA — now goes to the Assembly, where it is expected to face a wall of resistance from manufacturers of the products that contain the chemical.

Industry leaders have focused on California for a lobbying and public relations campaign they hope will turn back efforts by health and consumer groups to outlaw use of the chemical, a component in many types of plastic and plastic-lined containers.

Researchers from the chemical industry say the public health threat has been vastly overblown, and manufacturers of BPA argue that it has passed muster with nearly a dozen regulatory agencies in Europe and the United States.

But more than 200 independent scientific studies have linked BPA to brain development problems and behavioral troubles in young children, the early onset of puberty and several types of cancer. Scientists say the chemical can leach into a liquid, particularly when a bottle or cup is heated.

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