Today we have the opportunity to help millions of infants and children lead healthier lives by passing the Toxics-Free Babies & Toddlers Act (SB-797), a law that will eliminate the use of the endocrine disruptor, bisphenol A (BPA), in baby bottles, sippy cups, infant formula and baby food jars in California.
To date, more than 200 studies have found evidence that exposure to BPA, even at extremely low levels, is linked to numerous diseases and health problems because it can interfere with the body’s hormonal system. It’s dangerous for adults, but it’s even more dangerous for infants and children because they’re still developing and growing.
Due to this clear and compelling evidence, regulatory agencies in the United States are beginning to take action to lower consumer exposure to BPA. In January 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reversed its much-criticized position that BPA is safe, stating concerns about the chemical’s effects on infants and children.
In March 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it will be working closely with other regulatory agencies on research to better assess and evaluate the potential health consequences of BPA exposures, including health concerns from non-food packaging exposures that fall outside of the FDA’s reach but within EPA’s regulatory authority.
Finally, California EPA announced in February 2010 that it has begun proceedings to include BPA on the state’s Proposition 65 list of known carcinogens and reproductive toxicants.
Banning BPA is not unequivocally “bad for business” as opponents of SB-797 would have you believe. Take Klean Kanteen for example, my family’s Chico-based company that produced the first reusable, BPA-free metal bottle for everyday beverage transport and consumption. When the health risks of BPA were first reported in mainstream media, Klean Kanteen’s sales increased more than 800 percent clear evidence that consumers wanted safe products for their families, and were concerned about BPA. As consumers continue to vote against BPA-based plastics with their dollars, we have gone from a company of six people to 40 almost overnight.
I tell our story to make a point. Klean Kanteen, along with many other purveyors of BPA-free products, have experienced considerable growth because consumers are looking for alternatives to products with chemicals known or even suspected of causing health concerns. We are examples of the economic promise of the clean, green industries that are California’s future.
Major retailers including CVS, K-mart, Kroger, Safeway, Sears, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Wegmans Foods and Whole Foods no longer carry baby bottles and sippy cups containing BPA. General Mills just announced they will be switching to BPA-free cans for some of their products because of consumer demand.
To date, legislation similar to SB-797 has been introduced in more than 29 states and localities; and the states of Minnesota, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Washington, Maryland and Vermont have all banned the chemical from various children’s products, including baby bottles, sippy cups and infant formula and baby food containers. The list goes on.
The State must prioritize and foster research, development and jobs in making and selling safer consumer products for people and for the environment. Not only will this solidify California as a leader in the new green economy movement, but it will also save the State and its residents billions in healthcare costs.
SB-797 is about protecting the health of California’s kids. As a business committed to producing safe, BPA-free products for children and adults, Klean Kanteen supports SB-797. It’s time to pass the Toxics-Free Babies & Toddlers Act.