Concerned Crowd Rallies to Ban BPA in Baby Products
By Sarah E. Brown
Wednesday, Aug. 26 2009, Sacramento Calif.
Beneath a giant-sized baby bottle, a diverse crowd of concerned citizens, legislators, public interest advocates, physicians, scientists and actress/environmental activist Amy Smart joined together for a rally at the California state Capitol to support SB797, a bill which would protect California's children and infants from Bisphenol A (BPA), a synthetic endocrine disruptor chemical added to many plastics and cans which has been linked to early onset of puberty, autism and breast cancer.
BPA has already been banned in children's products in Minnesota, Connecticut and Canada. According to California Assembly member Dave Jones, a supporter of the bill, passing SB797 will make a lasting impact on the health of California's children.
"We have seen studies that suggest BPA harms people, and what we've done in the bill is make sure that we rely on the best science available to determine if it is harmful, and provide a deadline for the state scientists to make that decision. And if they won't, the legislature are going to ban this product," said Jones.
Scientists and physicians from many public interest groups showed up to support the bill. Rebecca Sutton, a Senior Scientist for Environmental Working Group (EWG) specializing in research on hormone-disrupting chemicals, was adamant that California should ban BPA in baby products.
"I am very concerned that we are all being exposed to this dangerous chemical" said Sutton.
As the hundred-plus person crowd gathered at the West Steps of the Capitol Building, a press conference featuring Senator Pavley, an author on the bill, prominent Pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene MD, WIC and DHHS representative Abrina Abraham, actress/environmental activist Amy Smart and others highlighted why this bill is so crucial to the health and wellness of California's children. Abraham expressed the significant impact this bill will have for low-income and under-represented families. Abraham works for a clinic that works with approximately 40,000 low-income families, many of whom earn less than $1,200 per month.
"Any given day you could come in to my clinic and out of 50 families that are sitting in there, all of the babies have 98-cent store bottles in their mouths," said Abraham. "None of the communities I serve--Oak Park, the community in Citrus Heights, Rancho Cordova, there is absolutely, within several miles radius, no place you can buy a BPA-free bottle. They start at $12, they go up to $32 a piece. Who can afford that?"
Abraham also stressed that while some stores carry BPA-free products, the steep cost and lack of easily available alternatives to BPA products remains a significant barrier for low-income families to gain access to BPA-free bottles. She also noted that BPA exposure has long-term health and taxpayer implications, since children who are being exposed to these BPA products at the highest level are almost all on state-subsidized medical insurance.
"And who is going to pay for it when they have all these sicknesses?" Asked Abraham, highlighting the economic impact that BPA-related illnesses are undoubtedly having on California's already-stressed economy.
After the press conference, members and constituents flooded the offices of legislators to let their voices be heard that they want BPA banned from children's products. Click here to learn more about the rally, and to see photos from the event.
Congratulations to CHANGE members and SB 797 sponsors Breast Cancer Fund, Commonweal, and Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles for pulling together a great event.
If you haven’t already, please call your Assemblymember in support of SB 797. If you know your Assemblymember’s name and just need the number, call the Capitol Switchboard: 916-322-9900. Too busy to call? You can sign this letter courtesy of PSR-LA to show your Assemblymember your commitment to protecting children from toxic chemicals.