Last Friday, the joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources of the Maine State Legislature voted unanimously to endorse a bill banning bisphenol A or BPA in children’s products. Consumers in Maine are one step closer to having safe children’s products on store shelves. This bill still has a long road ahead– it still has to have Maine House, Senate and Governor approval before it will be enacted.
BPA has been used for many years as an additive to plastic, giving it rigidity and strength. It can be found in products we use daily such as eyeglasses, baby bottles, food containers, and can liners. BPA concerns grew when the chemical was found to leech from food containers and circulate within the bodies of 90 percent of Americans. Alarmingly, hundreds of studies link BPA to breast and prostate cancer, infertility, metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity, and developmental problems in children.
Urvashi Rangan Ph.D, CU’s Director of Technical Policy testified at Maine’s hearing. She called on the state for action: “Children and families in Maine deserve reusable containers that are safe. Maine consumers should have the same health protections as those in other states, where restrictions of this harmful chemical already exist.”
The fight is far from over. The same committee that voted to ban BPA is also considering another which bill that would rewrite key provisions of the law that allows the state to regulate priority chemicals such as BPA. While industry presented itself as neutral on the high-profile BPA bill last week, they are working hard to undermine the ability of the state to regulate the BPA through this other legislation. Representative Robert Duchesne expressed concern over this legislation saying; “That will be the bigger fight. We will see where we end up.”