California has passed a BPA ban that Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, calls a historic step. The Toxin-Free Infants and Toddlers Act protects children in that state from bottles and sippy cups containing the chemical Bisphenol-A, which studies have shown can be harmful to child development.
The law takes effect July 1, 2013. Ten other states have similar laws on the books. Consumers Union was a co-sponsor of the bill, and supports such efforts because of the link between exposure to BPA and increased risk of cancer, diabetes, reproductive, neurological, and developmental disorders. The American Medical Association also recently announced its support of tighter restrictions on products containing BPA.
The law will prohibit manufacture, sale or distribution of bottles or cups designed for children three years old and younger that contain BPA at a level above 0.1 parts per billion. The law also requires manufacturers to use the least toxic alternative when replacing BPA.
BPA is used in shatter-proof plastic baby bottles, sippy cups, and the lining of formula cans, but can leach out of these containers into food. Consumers Union has long warned of the dangers of BPA in food containers, particularly for fetuses, infants, and small children, based on more than 200 scientific studies.
Studies show that BPA is in the bloodstreams of more than 90 percent of the population at levels that have shown harm in animal studies. Food appears to be a primary source of exposure. Children may metabolize BPA more slowly than adults and may therefore be particularly vulnerable to BPA, which has also been linked to early puberty, breast cancer, childhood obesity, autism, and hyperactivity.
Earlier this summer China banned BPA from baby bottles, joining Canada, the European Union, and the United Arab Emirates. And a total of 26 states introduced legislation this year that would have banned BPA in certain children’s food containers, although many of the bills died in committee. Click here to see what's happening with BPA in your state.