Maine has become the latest state to impose a ban on the harmful chemical BPA. Both the Maine House of Representatives and Maine Senate voted to approve a prohibition on the sale of certain children’s products that contain BPA, which was developed under Maine’s Kid-Safe Products Act. Governor LePage had until April 22 to veto the bill, which was ultimately finalized due to inaction (he neither vetoed nor officially signed the bill). Starting January 1, 2012, BPA will be banned from baby bottles, sippy cups, water bottles, and reusable food storage containers.
Governor LePage came under national scrutiny for his casual attitude about the harmful effects of BPA stating, “The only thing that I’ve heard is if you take a plastic bottle and put it in the microwave and you heat it up, it gives off a chemical similar to estrogen. So the worst case is some women may have little beards.” These comments, which ignore hundreds of studies linking BPA to a wide variety of health problems such as breast and prostate cancer, infertility, and development disorders, incited a backlash from public health groups, researchers and policy makers. (As a side note, his statement also ignores basic biology as well – estrogen imparts feminine, not masculine characteristics.)
In reaction to the BPA phase out, the chemical industry is seeking major changes to the Kid-Safe Products Act that would make it easy to rescind the BPA ban at a later date. Negotiations in the Joint Committee on Environment and Natural Resources are going on now about a bill that would gut the law. Consumers Union is urging defeat of any changes that would undermine the action just taken to ban BPA in children’s products.
Maine’s BPA ban has received broad bipartisan support, passing unanimously in the Senate and almost unanimously in the House. CU applauds Maine for joining eight other states that have taken positive steps to protect its youngest citizens from exposure to BPA.