Senator Boyle, Representative Welsh, and Members of the Joint Select Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. My name is Abby King and I am the Toxics Policy Advocate with the Natural Resources Council of Maine. I am a resident of Brunswick. I am here to testify in support of LD 902.
These rules are before you today because more than 800 Maine moms and residents petitioned the Department of Environmental Protection to urge that more action be taken to protect infants and families from the risks of BPA in consumer products.
These rules are before you today because the Board of Environmental Protection unanimously voted to approve these rules, based on their conclusion that the scientific studies have demonstrated that: 1) BPA is harmful to human health, 2) food packaging for infant formula and baby food exposes young children to BPA, and 3) safer alternatives are available.
You are likely to receive some testimony today urging that Maine not take action through the adoption of these rules, but instead wait for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to address the issue. That is bad advice, because the FDA has failed both to stay in-tune with scientific evidence regarding the health risks of BPA and to establish regulatory protections on the use of BPA. When the federal government fails to act, it is the responsibility of the states to show the necessary leadership.
Over the past 40 years, the FDA has not completed a study regarding BPA that has been capable of withstanding the scrutiny of peer review.
In 2008, the FDA released a draft safety assessment on BPA that concluded that BPA is safe. That conclusion was based on two industry-funded studies (i), and it was soundly rejected in the peer review process. The expert review panel, convened by FDA, identified serious flaws in several of the methods used and conclusions drawn, and declared that the FDA’s margins of safety were “inadequate.(ii)”
In 2012, after four years of consideration, the FDA denied a petition by the Natural Resources Defense Council to ban the use of BPA in food packaging. However, that decision did not represent a determination about the safety of BPA. The agency primarily concluded that more research was needed. The FDA again chose delay in a broad-based ban on BPA in food packaging, even as they acknowledged health risks through a ban on BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups.
But the body of scientific evidence continues to mount, and the public is demanding actionâif not by the U.S. Government, then at the state level. And that’s why these rules are before the Legislature, and it’s why we urge that you approve them. We believe that the use of BPA in food packaging should be phased out completely.
These rules take an important step in that direction by phasing out BPA from foods consumed by babies every day.
I appreciate this opportunity to testify before you today. For your interests, I have attached to my testimony a detailed timeline of FDA’s review of BPA, and I would be glad to answer any questions you may have.
i Investigative reporting by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel focused on FDA’s actions during this time period, including an article, “FDA relied heavily on BPA lobby” (May 16, 2009), which tracked email exchanged between Dr. Cheeseman at the FDA and industry trade representatives, finding clear indications of “a pattern of preferential treatment [of industry] over the past nine years that was not afforded to independent scientists.”
ii FDA Science Board Subcommittee on Bisphenol A. Scientific Peer-Review of the Draft Assessment of Bisphenol A for Use in Food Contact Applications. 31 October 2008.