Hi GOC Friends,
Good news! The CT Senate passed the BPA bill which bans BPA in reusable food and beverage containers, baby bottles, infant formula cans and sippy cups- 35 to 1! The not so great news is the Senate added an amendment dropping the part of the bill that would have required canned food and beverage manufacturers to label cans “Contains BPA”. Senator Bob Duff told me that several senators were concerned “that cans from around the world sold in Connecticut would require this labeling” and that with politics you often have to “chip away” at change rather than have it occur in one fell swoop. He also said that the 10 point font was so big it would be the same size as the label on a can of Campbell ’s Soup. (Sounds good to me…)
Anyway, we’ll have to wait a few months before we can push our state representatives and senators on this issue again. You New York ladies should learn something from what happened in CT and see what you can do differently in your state. My point to Bob Duff was that pregnant women, women concerned about breast cancer and men concerned about prostate cancer would appreciate the labeling requirement because they could simply avoid consuming products in cans that contained BPA. He told me I was preaching to the choir, but my guess is these other state senators had NO IDEA why labeling is important. Just like all of you avoided alcohol and aspartame when you were pregnant, so too would you avoid cans lined with BPA had you known, don’t you think???
Thanks to all of you who jumped through hoops to try and make this bill happen. We have much to be proud about as CT now will likely have the most comprehensive BPA legislation in the country!!
Rhonda PLEASE READ THE ARTICLE BELOW IN THE HARTFORD COURANT
By Ken Dixon
HARTFORD — The CT Senate on Thursday approved legislation that would ban the use of a controversial plastic-hardening chemical called bisphenol-A in children’s products and reusable drink containers.
However, the bill, which passed 35-1 after a 90-minute debate, was amended from a version that had been approved 128-14 in the House on April 29, so the bill heads back to the House for confirmation.
The transfer puts the bill in jeopardy as the June 3 adjournment date draws nearer. Environmental advocates said after the vote that they fear chemical-industry lobbyists, brought in during recent weeks, will have more time to try to kill the legislation.
If jointly passed before the June 3 legislative deadline and signed into law by the governor, it would prohibit the use of the controversial chemical in baby bottles, reusable sports bottles, thermoses and spill-proof cups, effective Oct. 1, 2011.
Existing inventory could be sold until Oct. 1, 2012.
Minnesota has created a similar ban and as many as 15 states are considering laws on the chemical this year, advocates said, adding that Canada has classified bisphenol-A (BPA) as hazardous.
Sen. Edward Meyer, D-Guilford, co-chairman of the Environment Committee, said emerging research into the nearly ubiquitous chemical indicates that the younger the people who come into contact with BPA, the greater the chance to develop its potentially toxic effects.
He said the chemical has been linked to neurological and immune-system damage, as well as breast and prostate cancer. A recent study in Japan indicates that exposure to the material has caused pregnant women to suffer miscarriages.
“Connecticut is taking a significant step for the safety of our children,” said Meyer, who introduced an amendment that would eliminate a requirement that other items containing BPA, such as food jars or cans, would have to contain warning labels.
Meyer said it was felt that the labeling requirement could hurt businesses at a time when questions on the use of bisphenol-A are resulting in more companies removing it from their products.
Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield, opposed removal of the labeling requirement, but the proposal passed 25-9. He noted a recent memo from Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who said he was prepared to fight in court for the labeling law.
“I think we have a good bill before us,” said McKinney, ranking member of the Environment Committee. “It passed the House overwhelmingly and I think we can do the same here.”
He said there’s a lot of evidence that today’s children are being affected by products containing toxic materials and other things in the environment such as air pollution.
“Perhaps our friends in the United States Congress will look at these products,” McKinney said, noting the state-by-state efforts that could be expedited by leaders in Washington.
Sen. Robert J. Kane, R-Watertown, whose district includes Oxford and part of Seymour, said that his town has a company that makes water bottles and he wondered whether the health effects of bisphenol-A have been overstated.
“I still have some very deep concerns about the bill,” Kane said, who voted for the bill. The lone opposition came from Sen. Eileen M. Daily, D-Westbrook.
“I’m always a little leery of legislating science,” said Sen. Dan Debicella, R-Shelton, stressing that the federal Food and Drug Administration has not yet ruled on whether bisphenol-A is hazardous.
“I believe that the bill we have before us is a very narrowly crafted, moderate bill that narrows the scope of what will be impacted by it, but also delays the implementation until 2011, allowing companies time to find substitutes,” Debicella said.
He hopes the FDA may rule on the chemical before the state ban takes effect.
In the debate’s second hour, Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele warned minority Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Michael A. McLachlan, R-Danbury, and Sen. Leonard A. Fasano, R-North Haven, for repeating questions that had already been asked during the discussion. Senate rules prohibit repeat queries.
The Senate vote was a victory for environmental advocates including Sara Uhl, environmental health coordinator for the nonprofit Clean Water Action, who warned in recent days that there has been an increase in chemical-industry lobbyists working against the bill in the General Assembly.
“With dozens of industry lobbyists swarming, the Senate passed a weakened but still protective version of the BPA bill,” Uhl said in an interview.