We are pleased that Governor Patrick is seeking a phase out on bisphenol A (BPA,) a hormone disrupting chemical, in children’s products. However, we are disappointed that the Governor’s starting point for this process does not address the contamination of baby formula from BPA cans as well as other products for which there are safer alternatives.
BPA exposure during critical windows of development, such as in the womb and during infancy, is associated in scientific studies with serious, long term health impacts including infertility, early puberty, behavioral disorders, heart disease, obesity, breast and prostate cancer. It is therefore imperative that Massachusetts’ officials prevent unnecessary exposure to this chemical, and move to phase out a wide scope of products.
BPA is the building block of polycarbonate plastic food and beverage containers, and is also common in the epoxy linings of canned foods. Studies show that BPA leaches into food and beverages and moves quickly into the body. In fact, BPA has been found in 9 out of 10 newborn infants, indicating that exposure to this toxic chemical begins in the womb.
It is unconscionable to directly expose babies to BPA when it is unnecessary, when there are safer alternatives. BPA-free baby bottles, water bottles, sippy cups and infant formula containers are currently on the market in Massachusetts. Connecticut has passed into law a phase-out of products with safer alternatives on the market and we urge Massachusetts to match the health protective standard of our neighboring state.
It is important to follow the lead of other states and phase out BPA baby bottles, and to go further, to get BPA out of the baby formula that will go into those BPA free bottles. We know that thousands of parents across the state are outraged that they unknowingly fed their infants a hormone disrupting chemical in their baby formula. We continue to urge swift and strong action from the Patrick Administration.
The chemical industry is pressuring elected officials around the country to hold off on BPA bans using a range of tactics. These include attacking the validity of well-established science practices such as animal-based research protocols that are standard in assessing safety, while simultaneously designing their own studies meant to find no effects from BPA exposure.
The children and parents of Massachusetts deserve truly protective health decisions from Governor Patrick. Therefore, we hope that the Governor and his Department of Public Health will develop a regulation going forward that bans BPA from food and beverage containers for which there are safer alternatives – particularly those used by children.