Chemical industry shifts on BPA after spending millions to fight legislation (New York Times, 10/12/2011)

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Days after California passed a ban on BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, the American Chemistry Council—trade group for the chemical industry—declared that it was petitioning the FDA to ban the chemical from these products nationwide. It's an intriguing reversal in the ACC's history of lobbying against state and federal BPA bills (including the California ban) over the last several years.

Despite the move, the ACC still maintains that BPA is of no concern for health. We disagree.

As reported by the New York Times yesterday:

The trade group's announcement came after [Gretchen Lee] Salter, the policy manager of the Breast Cancer Fund, had spent the past six years on the frontlines of a major battle over California legislation to ban BPA from those products.

Salter's group and others were able to declare victory when Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed A.B. 1319 into law last week — only to see ACC say three days later that the problem does not exist.

To Salter, something didn't ring true.

"The amount of resources they poured into states trying to regulate baby bottles and sippy cups and the amount of resources they poured into California," Salter said, then paused. "To all of the sudden say, 'Folks, there is no problem here, we don't use BPA anyway.' It's this weird, almost Orwellian double speak."

ACC had doggedly insisted that BPA is safe, and the group has fought fiercely against federal and state legislative proposals to ban the chemical, which public health advocates have linked to a hormonal disruption and other developmental problems in children.

Disclosure forms shows that ACC has invested heavily in lobbying in California since 2005, when the first bill limiting BPA was introduced in the state Legislature. (Read complete article.)

Neither the California law nor the ACC petition to the FDA include canned foods or other products known to contain BPA. The Breast Cancer Fund continues to push for safe alternatives to BPA in canned foods through our Cans Not Cancer campaign and support of Rep. Ed Markey's (D, Mass.) Ban Poisonous Additives Act, currently in the U.S. House.

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