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Senator Feinstein to Offer Amendment Banning Bisphenol A from Baby Bottles, Infant Formula

- Senator plans to offer amendment to food safety legislation when Senate returns from recess -

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced that she will offer an amendment to upcoming food safety legislation to ban Bisphenol A (BPA) from baby bottles, sippy cups, baby food and infant formula. BPA is a toxic chemical and known endocrine disruptor.

Today, Senate negotiators released an agreement on food safety legislation that does not include language banning BPA. The food safety bill is expected to come to the Senate floor shortly after the Senate reconvenes next month.

BPA is a known endocrine disruptor and is used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. It is found in a wide variety of consumer products, including water bottles and baby bottles, and it is also used to line the inside of metal food and beverage containers.

Research shows that when in the human body, BPA acts like estrogen. It also has been linked to a variety of serious health effects, including cancer, diabetes, early onset puberty, hyperactivity, lowered sperm count and miscarriage.  Infants and toddlers are especially vulnerable to this chemical.

Senator Feinstein believes the food safety legislation should contain language banning BPA from children’s products and is prepared to offer an amendment to the bill when the legislation comes to the Senate floor following the August recess.

“I believe that we need legislation to protect consumers, especially babies and toddlers, from harmful chemicals. Because of their smaller size and stage of development, babies and children are particularly at risk from the harmful health effects of BPA. 

BPA is linked to problems with brain and reproductive development in fetuses, infants, and children.  It is critical we act now to protect the most vulnerable, our infants and toddlers, from this harmful chemical,”
Senator Feinstein said.

The Food Safety Bill was the logical place for this legislation, and I have been working hard to reach a compromise, but unfortunately BPA language is not included in the manager’s amendment. When the Senate reconvenes next month, I plan to offer an amendment to ban this toxic chemical from baby bottles, sippy cups, baby food and infant formula.

“The more time I spend in the Senate, the more I am concerned with the harmful impact of chemicals on human health. The fact that we lack methodology to test chemicals added to plastics, food containers, and cosmetics and determine they are safe before we use them is a great concern,” Senator Feinstein added. “We do not have a precautionary protocol through which chemicals can be ascertained to be harmless before they are included to products that impact human health. This is not acceptable.”

Senator Feinstein’s amendment:

  • Bans the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups within six months of enactment.
  • Bans BPA in baby food and infant formula within two years.
  • Requires the Food and Drug Administration to issue a safety assessment on BPA by November 1, 2012 for all products containing BPA.

A study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics found that girls today are more likely to start developing breasts by age 7 or 8.  Although it is difficult to determine the exact causes of early puberty, researchers said they suspect that environmental chemicals are playing a role and are studying further the impacts of endocrine disruptors, such as BPA affect the onset of puberty.  

“We should not have to wait for additional scientific evidence to confirm that BPA is dangerous. We have enough safe alternatives to eliminate this chemical for infant and baby products – in fact, many manufacturers and retailers have already taken steps to eliminate BPA from their products.  Additionally, eight states have passed laws banning BPA from children’s feeding products.  This is common sense legislation and is about protecting the health and safety of infants and toddlers from chemicals that can harm their health.”

The National Toxicology Program in the Department of Health and Human Services has cited “some concern” that BPA may affect neural development in fetuses, infants and children at current human exposures. Dozens of additional peer-reviewed scientific papers have also found evidence of adverse health effects such as increases in breast and prostate cancer risk, heart disease, liver abnormalities and diabetes. Earlier this year, the FDA concurred with the National Toxicology Program’s assessment.

The NIH and FDA are conducting  additional studies to determine the effects of BPA exposure on human health and support steps to reduce human exposure to BPA.
A number of manufacturers and retailers have already pledged to stop using BPA in their products. The following companies have begun phasing out BPA in baby bottles: CVS, Kmart, Kroger, Rite Aid, Safeway, Sears, Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” Us, Wal-Mart, Wegmans Foods and Whole Foods.

In addition, Avent, Born Free, Disney First Years, Evenflo, Gerber, Handi-Craft Company, Munchin, Playtex and Think Baby have promised to stop using BPA in baby bottles that they sell in the United States.

Infant formula, including Nestle’s GOOD START, Similac powdered infant formula, Enfamil powdered infant formula and Nestle and Similac liquid formula does not include BPA.

Bisphenol A has already been banned from all baby bottles in Canada. In the United States, eight states have banned BPA in baby bottles, including Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Several jurisdictions also have banned BPA from baby bottles, including Chicago.

Sunoco, a company that makes BPA, has said it would refuse to sell the chemical without a guarantee that it would not be used in children’s products.