Minnesota leaped ahead of Congress and several other states in becoming the first state in the U.S. to ban the use of Bisphenol A in baby bottles and sippy cups. The Food and Drug Administration has not backed off its endorsement of the chemical as safe, despite independent research that suggests the chemical mimics hormones and could be linked to serious health problems.
The FDA's stance -- which it determined based on two industry-funded studies and to the exclusion of dozens, if not hundreds, of independent scientific research raising serious questions about the safety of the chemical -- is coming under increasing fire from both within the U.S. (largely thanks to the Heart of Green-nominated reporters at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) and abroad.
Bisphenol A is found in the blood of nearly every American tested, and is used to make hard, clear plastics for food containers, dental sealants and the sealants that line food and beverage cans.
As concerns over the chemical have mounted -- largely due to the reporting of the Sentinel reporters over the last couple years -- major retailers and manufacturers like Wal-Mart, Toys R Us and Nalgene (also recognized for Heart of Green Award consideration) have vowed to phase out the use of Bisphenol A in children's products. Even Sunoco, one of the chemical's biggest manufacturers, has stopped selling it to companies that might use it in a children's product.
Canada has banned Bisphenol A in many products for babies and young children, and Suffolk County, N.Y., could become the first government in the U.S. to do so. The National Toxicology Program has raised concerns about Bisphenol A's potential to disrupt the normal development of fetuses and babies, and the Environmental Protection Agency has been criticized for failing to consider the cumulative effect of hormone-disrupting chemicals that Americans are routinely exposed to.
Minnesota, as of Jan. 1, 2010, will not allow the sale of products containing Bisphenol A if the product is intended for a child under the age of three, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. (Suffolk County, N.Y., became the first government entity in the U.S. to make such a move.) The law won praise from environmental and consumer health groups like Consumers Union and the Environmental Working Group, which noted that "Any questions about the viability of alternatives have clearly been resolved." California could be the next to ban the chemical, when it considers legislation this week.
For more information about Bisphenol A and the other ubiquitous hormone-disrupting chemical of the moment, phthalates, see The Daily Green's How to Avoid Bisphenol A and Phthalates.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.