For Immediate Release - March 02, 2010

GOVERNOR PATRICK DIRECTS DPH TO ADDRESS CONCERNS ABOUT BISPHENOL A IN BABY BOTTLES AND CUPS

Limited Ban on BPA will help reduce exposure to young children

BOSTON - Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - Governor Deval Patrick today announced that he has directed the Department of Public Health to take steps to impose a limited ban on Bisphenol A (BPA). BPA is a chemical in polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins widely used for producing food containers, including baby bottles and spill-proof cups.

A number of studies in laboratory animals have raised concerns about potential health effects of exposure to BPA, particularly for infants, nursing and formula-fed children, and children developing in pregnant women. These effects include, but are not limited to, changes in the infant's developing brain and nervous system, changes in behavioral development and changes in the normal development of the prostate gland.

"We are taking this action as a precaution to protect vulnerable children in the light of evidence about potential dangers of BPA," said Governor Patrick. "I have asked DPH to begin the regulatory process to implement a ban on some products containing BPA, and I hope that all interested citizens engage in this process."

The Massachusetts Public Health Council will consider a draft BPA regulation at its May meeting. Final passage of the regulation will be preceded by an open public comment process involving all interested parties.

 

On May 7, 2009 Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota signed the nation's first ban on BPA. The law applies only to new bottles and cups intended for children from birth to three years of age. The initial component of the ban took effect in January 2010, which is restricted to manufacturers and wholesalers. In 2011 retail sales of these products will not be allowed in Minnesota. The law does not apply to any other plastic products, food containers, or other items that may contain BPA.

 

"This action is part of the Governor's ongoing commitment to safeguarding the health of our youngest residents," said Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. JudyAnn Bigby.

 

"We look forward to starting the regulatory process and gaining important feedback from many groups including our governing body the Public Health Council," said Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach.

Last August, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) issued a consumer advisory that warned pregnant women and mothers of young children to avoid the use of products containing BPA for making or storing infant formula and breast milk. Canada banned BPA in baby bottles in 2008. Two state legislatures passed laws banning BPA last year and 19 other states, including Massachusetts, are currently considering legislation to ban BPA.

 

Six of the largest U.S. manufacturers of baby bottles announced last year that they will no longer sell bottles made with BPA. Leading retailers such as Wal-Mart, CVS, Toys 'R' Us, Babies 'R' Us, Target and Safeway have already phased out selling baby bottles with BPA or are in the process of doing so now.

 

Download a fact sheet on How to Protect Your Baby from BPA (Bisphenol A) (PDF) | RTF

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