by Lisa Pohlmann, NRCM Executive Director
Chairwoman Lessard and members of the Board of Environmental Protection, I am Lisa Pohlmann, Executive Director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine. NRCM represents over 12,000 members and supporters from all corners of the State and many of them have interacted directly with us about the issue of BPA.
I am here today to urge you to adopt this citizen-initiated rule, which will help protect the health of Maine children, reduce a source of unnecessary health care costs, and protect public health and the environment. We believe that the proposed rule to ban the use of BPA in infant formula, baby food, and toddler food packaging represents a sensible and necessary action for the good of state.
Since the passage of the Kid-safe Products Act four years ago, I have read the literature that documents the health effects of low-dose exposure to BPA. I have followed the actions that eleven states, many municipalities, Canada, and Europe have taken to get products made with BPA off the market.
As a consumer, I’ve become increasingly concerned about BPA in our food supply and how it is affecting our children and grandchildren. Information about products is not readily available and we rely on our government to make sure that products are safe. In the case of food that’s sold in cans and jars , there is an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence indicating that these products are not safe if it is sold in cans containing BPA. We know what that chemical can mean for the health of our loved ones.
The price of these products doesn’t reflect the prices we all pay for cancer, heart problems, obesity, early puberty, sexual dysfunction, behavioral and learning disabilities, and more, all health effects that have been linked to BPA.
We need the government to step in to right this wrong. We haven’t been able to rely on the federal government to protect us from BPA. This board moved us in the right direction when it voted to ban the use of BPA in reusable food and beverage containers sold in Maine. We’re asking you to take another step in the right direction today.
The three conditions for the board to replace BPA-lined cans and jars with safer alternatives have been met. If you accept that these conditions have been satisfied, as many scientists and doctors have confirmed for you today, then you must act to approve the rule before you today.
Condition #1. There is a preponderance of scientific evidence that BPA is harmful. You’ve already heard today about the extensive body of science that confirms that exposure to BPA in low doses correlates directly with significant health problems. .
Condition #2. We know for certain that young children are exposed to BPA through the food packaging in question. In a 2011 study, adults that ate canned soup for five days increased BPA levels by over 1,000% over levels after eating fresh soup for five days (1).
Condition #3. We know there are safer alternatives that are available and affordable. In many cases makers of infant formula and baby food have already made this transition in response to customer demand. Existing prosperous and responsible businesses, such as Whole Foods and Stoneyfield, have partially or fully transitioned to BPA-free packaging for their products.
This board has the power to take an action that would eliminate one of the biggest sources of a chemical known to be harmful to children. Your support of this rule would reduce exposure to BPA by up to two-thirds for the children of Maine (2), prevent significant health care expenses, and end the challenge that parents face trying to make the right decision at the grocery store. We hope you’ll take this step, as hundreds of citizens have urged you to do in the citizen-initiated rule now before you.
 Carwile et al., 2011
 Rudel: BPA mean levels reduced by 66% when participants removed canned or plastic-packaged foods from their diet.