Evidence supports proposed rule to end BPA use in food packaging
Press Release from Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine
(AUGUSTA) An expert report requested by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) finds that Maine children are unnecessarily exposed to the toxic chemical bisphenol-A (or BPA) because safer alternatives to BPA are widely available for food packaging for nursing infants and babies.
The Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) met today to discuss the BPA alternatives report and the proposed rule to further restrict the use of BPA in baby and toddler food packaging in Maine.
The report provides all the evidence needed by the BEP to approve a pending proposed rule to prohibit the sale of infant formula and baby food packaged in BPA-lined cans and jar lids.
Abby King, Toxics Policy Advocate for the Natural Resources Council of Maine stated, “It comes down to three simple questions. Does BPA cause harm? Do children’s food products expose kids to BPA? Are safer alternatives available and affordable? This report adds to the piles of existing evidence by confirming the answer is yes, yes, and yes. For the sake of our kids, no more delays – it’s time to get BPA out of baby and toddler food packaging.”
TechLaw, Inc., which prepared the report for the State, concluded on page 64 that:
“â¦ polyethylene, in a number of different formulations, represents the preferred choice in alternative packaging to replace containers that employ a BPA-based lining. Polyethylene is unreactive, stable and inexpensive. There are no health implications associated with polyethylene’s use as a food packaging alternative and the compound’s widespread use and recyclability tip the overall scales in favor of this compound as the (likely) preferred infant formula and baby food container-based packaging option when compared with other alternatives having no significant human health considerations.”
“The state’s own experts agree, there’s no need to expose our children to BPA because safer alternatives are widely available,” said Amanda Sears, Associate Director of the Environmental Health Strategy Center. “We urge swift action by the Board to eliminate this dangerous chemical from food packaging.”
Young children are exposed to BPA when the chemical leaks from the inner lining of canned foods, including infant formula, and the metal lids of glass jars, including baby food. State and federal health agencies are concerned that BPA will harm brain development, cause behavior problems and adversely affect the prostate, among other serious health concerns.
Dr. Andrew Smith, State Toxicologist with the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention also spoke to the Board of Environmental Protection today. Dr. Smith confirmed that Maine children are exposed to BPA from infant formula, baby food, and toddler food packaged in metal cans and lids lined with a BPA-based coating. About the dangers posed by BPA to children’s health, Dr. Smith said: “There are plenty of red flags,” citing new studies that show adverse effects among kids whose pregnant mothers were exposed to BPA in the food supply.
In June 2012, nearly 900 registered voters and the Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine petitioned the Board of Environmental Protection to outlaw the use of BPA in infant formula, baby food and canned food for toddlers in favor of safer alternatives. The proposed BPA restrictions were widely supported by Maine physicians, moms, health advocates and small businesses at a September 2012 public hearing. The only opposition came from chemical manufacturers and other national industry trade groups and the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. A Board decision on the proposed rule is expected in January 2013. If they adopt the proposed BPA rule, it would be subject to review and final authorization by the Maine Legislature.
In 2011, the Maine Legislature upheld the first BPA rule â a prohibition on the chemical’s use in baby bottles and sippy cups â on a combined vote of 180-3 after Governor LePage pushed to repeal the rule, saying that the worst that could happen is that BPA could cause some women to grow “little beards.” The Governor let that BPA rule become law without his signature.
The Alliance for a Clean and Healthy Maine is a coalition of over 50 public health, medical, parent, community, women’, worker, environmental, and public interest organizations dedicated to protecting public health and the environment by replacing unnecessary dangerous chemicals with safer alternatives.