The Honorable Betsy Butler
Member of the Assembly
Room 3132, State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814
RE: Support of AB 1319 –Toxic Free Babies and Toddlers Act
Dear Assemblymember Butler:
I write in support of AB 1319, a measure that would enact a ban on the use of bisphenol-A (BPA) in baby bottles and sippy cups, and in baby formula and baby food. Because of the scale of commerce and total population in California, it is especially important to get this toxic chemical out of the products that our infants and toddlers use or ingest. Canada has already banned bisphenol-A in baby bottles and has signaled its intention to regulate it in food containers. The European Union is phasing out BPA in baby bottles, and China is poised to follow. Seven U.S. states have also taken action to ban BPA in baby and children’s products. BPA-ban legislation is currently pending in 15 states.
Over the last several decades, children have faced an increasingly challenging time just making it through what should be normal stages of growth and development. Incidences of reproductive defects, childhood obesity, early onset puberty, learning disabilities, and many other chronic health problems are on the rise. Many of these problems have been linked with exposure to toxic chemicals.
Of particular concern are those chemicals found in products children use every day, such as their toys and feeding products. Current, peer-reviewed research now shows that bisphenol-A, a chemical added to some plastics, disrupts the endocrine system and is linked to a host of developmental problems, such as early onset puberty, abnormal growth, hyperactivity, chromosomal misalignments that account for birth defects such as Down’s syndrome, and increased risk of miscarriage, diabetes, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. There are well over 200 studies that document the potential adverse health impacts of this dangerous chemical. Notably, none of the studies finding negative impacts from BPA have been funded by the chemical industry.
In the past three years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have all formally expressed concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children. The President’s Cancer Panel, which was appointed by President Bush, also formally expressed concern in their 2010 report about the potential for BPA to cause cancer and recommended steps to avoid the chemical.
There are many alternatives for the products that are the subject of AB 1319 already on the market and some major manufacturers have already taken the responsible path toward eliminating these hazards from their products. AB 1319 will help ensure that products laden with BPA are not channeled towards poorer communities. It will also allow parents to buy safer products for their children without having to do research and reading the fine print on labels.
It has been put forth that AB 1319 is not needed because of the pending Green Chemistry program. But, due to a delay in adoption of regulations and the lack of funding, the Green Chemistry program will not be functional any time soon. And even when finally operating, it is likely that it will be many years before Green Chemistry addresses BPA. In any case, AB 1319 provides that if and when the Green Chemistry program takes an action on BPA, that action will take precedence over the provisions in the bill.
Because it will help ensure the safety of the over 500,000 babies that are born each year in California, I urge the passage of AB 1319 to protect our vulnerable young children.
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