Environmental Health and Investor Groups Call for Legislative Safeguards and an Immediate Moratorium on Bisphenol A in Baby Bottles, Food and Beverage Containers
BOSTON, MA – The toxic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) leaches from plastic baby bottles when heated according to a new study released today by environmental health organizations in the U.S. and Canada. Last week, the Massachusetts Senate passed a bill that would replace toxic chemicals like BPA with safer alternatives where feasible. Advocates and legislators are calling for the bill’s swift passage in the House of Representatives to better protect Massachusetts families from toxic chemicals in common household goods. Nationally, dozens of groups are calling for an immediate moratorium on the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles and other food and beverage containers in the wake of the study’s results. In early 2007, investors began to raise concerns with baby bottle manufacturers about the potential reputational and legal risk this may pose to them and asked them to review alternatives to BPA.
The study, “Baby’s Toxic Bottle: Bisphenol A Leaching from Popular Baby Bottles,” was commissioned by Environmental Defence of Canada and researched by the laboratory of Frederick vom Saal, PhD., at the University of Missouri. It contributes to a growing body of evidence that calls for immediate protective action to reduce public exposure to BPA, especially for infants and children.
BPA, a synthetic sex hormone that mimics estrogen, is used to make hard polycarbonate plastic. Ninety-five percent of all baby bottles on the market are made with BPA. The results of the U.S. study show that, when new bottles are heated, those manufactured by Avent, Evenflo, Dr. Brown’s and Disney/First Years leached between 4.7 – 8.3 parts per billion of BPA. Recent research on animals shows that BPA can be harmful by disrupting development at doses below these levels.
Studies conducted on laboratory animals and cell cultures have linked low doses of BPA to -1- obesity, diabetes, thyroid disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer and other illnesses. BPA exposure is widespread and has been found in 95% of Americans tested. Scientists, physicians, and public health professionals suspect that existing scientific evidence on BPA indicates a real risk to human health.
Boston Common Asset Management, a founding member of the Investors Environmental Health Network (iehn.org), has engaged Philips Electronics, Novartis and Playtex on this issue and are pleased that Philips has been looking at alternatives to BPA since January of 2007 including the feasibility of manufacturing a BPA -free baby bottle.
There are no existing safety standards regulating BPA under U.S. laws, even for products used by infants and young children. Massachusetts is one of nine states that has introduced legislation that would restrict the use of toxic chemicals like BPA in everyday products. Last week, the Massachusetts Senate passed An Act Providing for Safer Alternatives to Toxic Chemicals (S-2481). Now before the House of Representatives, the bill would replace toxic chemicals like BPA with safer alternatives where feasible.
In addition to baby bottles, BPA is used to make hard plastic used in some toddler sippy cups, polycarbonate water bottles such as some Nalgene bottles, dental sealants, and the linings of many food and beverage cans, including all infant formulas. Patagonia and Whole Foods have stopped selling products containing BPA.
The full study, “Baby’s Toxic Bottle: Bisphenol A Leaching from Popular Baby Bottles,” is available to download for free. The Canadian version of the study is also available at www.toxicnation.ca.
For information on investor-actions related to BPA, please contact Lauren Compere, Director of Shareholder Advocacy, Boston Common Asset Management at lcompere(at)bostoncommonasset.com or (617) 720-5557.
The U.S. version of “Baby’s Toxic Bottle” was written by the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, and Clean Water Action, in collaboration with Environmental Defence, and released in the U.S. by a broad coalition of public health and environmental non-governmental organizations.