Chicago has become the first U.S. city to adopt a ban on the sale of baby bottles and sippy cups containing the chemical BPA. The ban is slated to take effect on January 31, 2010. Alderman Manny Flores, co-sponsor of the measure, had this to say:
This is an important step in a landmark consumer protection initiative. This legislation will protect Chicago’s children and send a clear message to other jurisdictions considering similar legislation.
As we have reported, BPA, or bisphenol A, is used to harden plastics in many consumer products including CDs, sports safety equipment and reusable bottles. It’s also present in some food container linings. Experts disagree on whether it poses health risks to humans, but some manufacturers of baby bottles have voluntarily removed it because of safety questions.
Advocates say Chicago is the third jurisdiction in the country to ban BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups. New York’s Suffolk County was the first in April, and Minnesota passed a ban last month. Last year, Canada became the first country to announce plans for a similar ban. Some scientists and environmental advocates argue that BPA can mimic hormones and cause reproductive problems in children, but the chemicals industry says consumer products containing BPA pose no health threat. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that FDA-approved products containing BPA that are currently on the market are safe; its review of BPA research is ongoing.
A proposed federal ban on BPA in food containers is pending in Congress, and 24 states have pending bills that would restrict BPA. Consumer Reports publisher Consumers Union, which has sought a national ban on BPA in food containers, praised Chicago’s decision. The group’s Urvashi Rangan said:
Nationwide consumers will remain at risk until federal action is taken. We are hopeful that the new leadership at FDA will act swiftly to address this important public health concern.
The American Chemistry Council, an industry group, issued a statement saying Chicago’s ban is unwarranted. “The new Chicago law is contrary to the global consensus on the safety of BPA and ignores the expert evaluations of scientists and government bodies from around the world,” the council said. Chicago’s ordinance requires retailers to post notices declaring that products they sell do not contain BPA. Violators could be fined up to $100 or more per offense and could lose their licenses.
Source: Associated Press
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