Good Chemistry: Green Tips for Better Health, from Planned Parenthood of Northern New England

Posts Tagged ‘Bisphenol A’

Marketing BPA to Kids

My nephew absolutely adores the movie Toy Story, and is particularly infatuated with the character Woody. He owns the Woody doll, loves to scream out “Howdy, Partner!,” and would probably watch Toy Story on repeat for HOURS if we let him.

I also know if my nephew saw some canned Campbell’s soup with his buddy Woody on the cover, he would beg his mom to purchase it. She most likely would, thinking, “It’s soup. It’s gotta be better for him than most of the other junk food out there, right?”

WRONG.

As Seventh Generation pointed out in a recent blog post, BPA is showing up in many canned products, specifically targeted to kids. The endocrine disrupting chemical was found in soups, juices, and veggies at disturbing levels. Campbell's Toy Story Fun Shapes was no exception.

Posted by on September 24th, 2011 1 Comment

BPA Phase-Out Becomes Maine Law

We are excited to share the Maine Bisphenol A (BPA) bill has become law! The new law will phase out BPA in baby bottles and reusable food and beverage containers to further protect Mainers from the harmful chemical.

The bill became law without Governor LePage’s signature, who said the worst BPA could do is give some women “little beards.”  BPA exposure has been linked to a significant number of health problems, including learning disabilities, behavior problems, breast and prostate cancer, reproductive damage, diabetes, and obesity. The BPA phase out is a common-sense approach to protecting the health and safety of Maine families.

Maine bans BPA from baby bottles and other resusable food containers

Statement from the Environmental Health Strategy Center, April 22, 2011

BPA Phase-Out to Become New Maine Law Today

Governor LePage Decides Not to Sign or Veto Bill Enacted by the Legislature 

Use of the chemical BPA (bisphenol A) in baby bottles, sippy cups and other reusable food and beverage containers will no longer be legal in Maine effective January 1, 2012.  The Maine Legislature approved the BPA bill April 12th and the measure was sent to Governor LePage for his signature.  The Governor had ten days to sign the bill, veto it, or allow it to become law without signature.  The deadline for the Governor’s action is the end of the day today and, according to a spokesperson for the Governor, he has decided neither to sign nor veto it so it will become law at the end of the day.

Mike Belliveau, Executive Director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center, a Maine-based public health organization that has spearheaded a campaign in support of the BPA phase-out law issued the following statement regarding enactment of the new law:

"It's great for Maine kids and families that the BPA phase-out has been finalized. It's also sad that the Governor didn't listen to the overwhelming scientific, Legislative and public support and actually sign the phase-out himself.

This phase-out of BPA was the common sense thing to do. The scientific evidence of harm from BPA and the availability of safer alternatives was overwhelming. It's a fight that was really over before the Governor ever picked it.

The major source of BPA exposure for babies and children right now is infant formula and baby food packaging. The Governor may get another chance to decide if he stands with Maine families or with the chemical industry if a phase out of BPA for those sources comes to his desk in the next few years."

BPA was identified as Maine’s first priority chemical under the Kid-Safe Products Act. State and federal scientists have linked BPA exposure to harmful effects on brain development, behavior and the prostate gland among other health concerns. Governor LePage identified overturning the BPA rule as part of his environmental rollback proposal released in January and made national news when he wrongly stated that the worst BPA could do is give some women “little beards”.  The new law received overwhelming bipartisan support with a vote of 35-0 in the Senate and 145-3 in the House of Representatives.

Posted by on April 25th, 2011 No Comments

Bisphenol-A (BPA) and Nonylphenols Named Maine Priority Chemicals

Maine's Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) has named bisphenol-A (BPA) and nonylphenols (NPs) as Maine's first Priority Chemicals under the 2008 Kid-Safe Products Law. In addition, they provisionally adopted a phase out of BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups, which will be reviewed by the Maine Legislature before finalization.

Dr. Jeff Peterson, a pediatrician from Yarmouth, was pleased with the Board's action and stated, "No parent would willingly expose their child to dangerous chemicals - chemicals that could affect their ability to grow, learn, be healthy, and bear children. Designating them as Priority Chemicals and collecting more information on which products they are used in is just common sense."

Today's ruling caps a six-month public process in which the BEP heard testimony in support of the proposals from over 400 parents, scientists, doctors, nurses, business owners, public health professionals, and environmental health advocates from across the state and the region.

Testimony included vast scientific data and detailed how the proposed ban could improve the health of Maine children, how it could reduce the health and economic costs that result from exposure to toxic chemicals, and howMaine's many small businesses could benefit by having better information about the products they sell or use.

Steve Taylor, Coordinator of the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine, remarked, "Maine's Kid-Safe Products Law was passed nearly unanimously by the Maine Legislature in 2008 because protecting kids' health, reducing health costs, and giving retail businesses more information is good for everyone. Today's ruling is another step along the careful path ourlawmakers created. Maine scientists have identified two of the worst toxic chemicals and put them on the road to being replaced with safer alternatives. Maine families and small businesses are really the winners today."

As Priority Chemicals, information on the use of BPA and NPs in everyday products, as well as possible safer alternatives, will be compiled. For BPA, information will be collected on infant formula containers, baby food jars, toys, tableware, and child care articles. For NPs, information will be collected on household and commercial cleaners, cosmetics and personal care items, and home maintenance products. This information will give Maine businesses and families an opportunity to learn significantly more about the products they sell and use every day.

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is one of the most pervasive chemicals in modern life. It was synthesized as an estrogen replacement therapy in the 1930's and is now a chemical building block for polycarbonate plastic. It has been widely used in baby bottles, food storage containers, and in the epoxy resins that coat the lining of metal food cans, including some infant formula cans.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, 93% of Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their bodies. BPA exposure has been linked to a significant number of health problems, including learning disabilities, behavior problems, breast and prostate cancer, reproductive damage, diabetes, and obesity.

Safer alternatives to Priority Chemicals can be required when research shows convincing evidence of harm and the availability of safer and affordable chemicals. Because the scientific evidence against BPA is considered by most to be overwhelming, and safer alternatives are readily available, the BEP has also decided that BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups be replaced.

Nonylphenols are used in detergents, personal care products, paints, and pesticides. Because they are endocrine (hormone) disruptors, exposure to nonylphenols can result in serious health effects, including reproductive damage. Because the dangers are widely recognized and safer alternatives are readily available, many manufacturers, retailers, and cleaning professionals have voluntarily stopped making or using products that contain NP or NPE. But because all efforts to date have been voluntary, NP and NPE can still be found in school, commercial, and industrial settings.

Despite the public outcry, the mounting scientific evidence of harm, and the actions of more and more states, the chemical industry continues to resist efforts to replace BPA with safer alternatives. Steve Taylor added, "Of the 80,000 chemicals in use today, Maine scientists have identified over 1700 as already proven harmful to children. Yet the chemical industry opposes doing anything about just two of the very worst. This flies in the face of common sense and suggests they just don't get it. Parents, consumers, and retail businesses are all demanding safe products. The chemical industry needs to wake up and spend their energy developing safer chemicals instead of defending toxic ones."

If the Maine Legislature affirms the Board's decision to phase out the use of BPA in baby bottle and sippy cups, Maine will become the 9th state to do so, following the action of Massachusetts just this week.

Posted by on December 17th, 2010 No Comments

Recipe for BPA: Cigarettes + Canned Vegetables + Cashier Job

As a broke college student, and an avid-canned bean eater, I found a recent article on BPA especially troubling. The study revealed the recipe for high BPA exposure is cigarettes, a job as a cashier, and you guessed it, canned vegetables.

According to the article by Environmental Health News, more than 90 percent of pregnant women had detectable levels of BPA in their bodies. Pregnant women who ate canned vegetables, exposed themselves to tobacco smoke, or worked as cashiers also had above-average concentrations. BPA can be found in cash-register receipts, so it’s no wonder women working behind a counter had higher levels in their bodies.

BPA is a nasty chemical that has been linked to heart disease and diabetes in humans, cancer of the prostate and mammary glands, obesity and reproductive problems in lab animals exposed in the womb.

Not long ago pregnant women pressured retailers and manufacturers to offer BPA-free baby bottles. While this is a step in the right direction, women are still unknowingly exposing their infants during fetal development and babies are being born pre-polluted.  

The study also showed that those who eat canned vegetables once a day had 44 percent more BPA in their urine than those who didn’t. Once I read that, I decided to make my beans the old-fashioned way—by soaking and cooking them. Although this process did take roughly 24 hours, I can rest peacefully knowing my BPA intake decreased sufficiently.

Posted by on November 16th, 2010 No Comments

Victory! Vermont Bans BPA!

Bill S.247, An Act Relating to Bisphenol A, has passed in Vermont!  This new bill will phase out BPA in reusable food and beverage containers and in the plastic containers, jars or cans that store infant formula or baby food, in favor of safer alternatives.

We thank all of you who helped pass this bill by contacting your legislator, writing a letter to the editor, or educating your friends and family on the harmful effects of BPA.  Because of you, the Vermont House of Representatives overwhelmingly supported the bill and passed it quickly.

As you know, we believe it is our responsibility as a health care organization to help our patients make the link between our health and the products we put in our bodies, on our bodies, and in our homes. S.247 is an important step in providing the much needed information about what products these harmful chemicals are in so that men and women who are planning their families can ensure that the products they use on a daily basis do not hinder their ability to have a safe and healthy pregnancy and family.

Posted by on May 4th, 2010 No Comments

VT Votes on BPA Ban Tomorrow…

...and here is an awesome video by UVM students about why this needs to happen: (if this doesn't display properly, just click here to view directly at youtube.)

Tell your lawmakers you don't want BPA in your life and click here to fill out a simple form that goes directly to your representative.

Posted by on April 29th, 2010 1 Comment

VT BPA Update: Bill Passes Senate, Headed for House Human Services Committee

Great news! Last week the Vermont Senate passed S.247, An Act Relating to Bisphenol A (BPA)--a  bill that would phase out BPA in reusable food and beverage containers and in infant formula or baby food that is stored in a plastic container, jar or can in favor of safer alternatives.

S.247 is an important step in providing much needed information about which products contain the harmful chemical BPA, so that all men and women have the ability to plan a safe and healthy pregnancy and family.

Chamber of the Vermont Senate. Photographed by Jim Hood, August 2007.

Chamber of the Vermont Senate. Photographed by Jim Hood, August 2007.

An amendment that would have weakened S.247 was proposed, but luckily it was defeated by a bipartisan vote of 16-14.  Here’s the list of Senators who voted against weakening the bill: Ashe of Chittenden, Ayer of Addison, Brock of Franklin, Carris of Rutland, Choate of Caledonia, Cummings of Washington, Doyle of Washington, Flanagan of Chittenden, Giard of Addison, Illuzzi of Essex-Orleans, Kitchel of Caledonia, Lyons of Chittenden, MacDonald of Orange, McCormack of Windsor, Racine of Chittenden, and Snelling of Chittenden. Special shout out to Senator Ginny Lyons who is the lead sponsor of this bill and has been working really hard to keep the momentum going.

The next stop for the S.247 is the House Human Services Committee.  PPNNE will be working hard to keep this bill moving along with our coalition partner the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Vermont. If you want to learn more or get involved, email grassrootsvt@ppnne.org.

Posted by on April 12th, 2010 No Comments

UPDATE: Bisphenol A (BPA) Bill in VT Legislature

The Vermont Senate Health and Welfare Committee is currently hearing testimony on S.247, a bill that bans the manufacture, sale, and distribution of reusable food or beverage containers, and infant formula or baby food, that is stored in a plastic container, jar, or can that contains Bisphenol A (BPA).

PPNNE’s Medical Director, Dr. Cheryl Gibson, testified in support of this legislation, strongly urging the committee to vote in support of the bill. 

Statehouse in the winterDr. Gibson’s testimony really dove into the science and health implications of BPA.  Here’s an excerpt of her testimony:

"BPA is found in the lining of metal food cans and in some plastic food containers, including some baby bottles, water bottles, microwave ovenware and eating utensils.  Because BPA is an unstable polymer and is fat-seeking, it can leach into infant formula and other food products, especially when heated.  Once in food, BPA can move quickly into people - a real concern for women of childbearing age and for young children."

"At PPNNE’s fall conference on women’s environmental health, Janet Gray, editor of the Breast Cancer Fund's State of the Evidence, illustrated how BPA in food containers can affect our health. Please take a moment and picture three petri dishes in a laboratory.  When estrogen was added to breast cancer tumor cells in a petri dish, the tumor cells divided and grew.  When BPA was added to breast cancer tumor cells in a petri dish, the tumor cells divided and grew.  When liquid from a BPA-lined can of string beans was added to breast cancer tumor cells in a petri dish, the tumor cells divided and grew." To read all of Dr. Gibson’s testimony, click here.

The real answer to eliminating BPA lies in chemical reform and policy change. That is why it's so important to contact your elected officials and ask them to support this bill.

In the meantime, here are a few ways to reduce your exposure to BPA.

Posted by on March 12th, 2010 No Comments

“Secret Ingredient”….BPA???

CB005663Thanksgiving is nearly upon us and people everywhere are busily preparing their shopping lists and menus.  You may want to reconsider any canned items on your list,  in light of this startling news.

A new test by Consumer Reports has found a wide range of chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) in 19 name-brand canned foods, including soups, vegetables, juices and more. (As an aside, the Vermont legislature will be introducing a bill that bans BPA from certain products...we'll keep you posted.)

BPA, which has been used for years in clear plastic bottles, PVC water pipes, medical equipment, electronics, cash-register receipts and food-can liners, has been linked to reproductive abnormalities and a heightened risk for breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, heart disease, and most recently, sexual function in males.

The study revealed canned green beans and canned soups were among foods with the highest amounts of BPA.  Canned Del Monte Fresh Cut Green Beans Blue Lake for example, averaged a BPA level of 123.5 parts per billion, or about 80 times more than what experts recommend you ingest each day.

Organic canned foods aren’t off the hook either—according to the study, organic canned foods did not always have lower BPA levels than their non-organic counterparts.  BPA was even found in cans claiming to “BPA-Free".

What you can do this Thanksgiving and throughout the rest of the year to reduce BPA exposure: (more...)

Posted by on November 23rd, 2009 No Comments

Kicking the Bottle…Again

SIGG is offering a free Bottle exchange before October 31st.

SIGG is offering a free bottle exchange, before October 31st.

You know those shiny metal water bottles you replaced your old NalgeneTM ones with? (Yeah, the ones you practically maxed out your credit cards to buy…) Well, it turns out that some of them – most notably those made by so-called eco-friendly manufacturers SIGG and Gaiam – may be lined with a material that leaches bisphenol A (a.k.a. BPA), the nasty endocrine-disrupting, cancer-causing chemical you were trying to avoid in the first place! (Scroll down to read one of our older blog posts or visit ewg.org to learn more about BPA and how you can reduce your exposures.)

The “good” news is that SIGG is offering a voluntary exchange program if you have a SIGG bottle that was made prior to August 2008. (Here’s how to tell whether or not you have one of the bottles in question.) You may also be able to return your bottle to any major retailer, such as EMS, in exchange for a new BPA-free version. Either way, make sure you act fast! The program ends on October 31st.

If, like me, all this information makes your head swim and leaves you thirsty for some unbiased suggestions about what kind of bottle you should (or shouldn’t) buy, The ZRecs 2009 BPA-Free Water Bottle Showdown” includes reviews for nearly 40 alternatives.

Posted by on October 16th, 2009 No Comments