Sunday, August 1, 2010

New York's new BPA law just scratches the surface

On Friday, Governor Paterson signed legislation banning the sale, manufacture and distribution in New York of some products designed for infants and small children containing bisphenol-A (BPA), such as bottles, sippy-cups, straws and pacifiers. New York is the seventh American state to enact such a law; it takes effect on December 1.

BPA is a common industrial chemical that has been used since the 1960s. It is a hormone disruptor that is linked to such things as breast, testicular and prostate cancers, early-onset puberty, declines in sperm counts, diminished intellectual capacity and behavior problems.

While I'm glad the New York State legislature could finally find something to agree on (it passed both houses unanimously), this BPA law just scratches the surface. As I said, BPA is common. Here are other items we see and touch and eat and drink from every day that contain bisphenol-A:

- plastic linings in baby formula cans
- plastic linings in canned food
- plastic linings in canned sodas
- ATM and cash register receipts, in amounts 250-1000x greater than food cans

According to the National Institutes of Health, "BPA in food and beverages accounts for the majority of daily human exposure." But I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the NIH has not considered the recent finding by the Environmental Working Group of BPA in ATM and register receipts, containing 250 to 1000 times the amount found in food can linings.

As I Google for news articles to support this blog post, the most common phrase I see is "BPA found", and it is pissing me off. "Oh, lookie here, we found BPA in cans! And receipts!" etc. Like we'd just found a new species of butterfly, or the all water route to Asia. All these things we're finding with BPA are man made. We made them, so 'we' shouldn't have to find out what is in them, much less find that what is in them is killing us.

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