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California Senate votes to ban BPA

June 2, 2009 |  4:11 pm

Bottle

For the second year in a row, the California Senate voted to ban bisphenol A in baby bottles, toddler cups and food containers.

Tests in animals have linked the chemical, a primary ingredient in the manufacture of polycarbonate plastics, to diabetes, brain damage, developmental abnormalities, precancerous changes in the prostate and breast, and a variety of other health problems.

British researchers last year reported an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, liver problems and diabetes among people with the highest concentrations in their urine.

The chemical industry and some beverage and container manufacturers have pushed hard against such bans, citing several studies funded by the chemical industry that showed no adverse effects in animal tests. But studies have been accumulating that suggest otherwise. Major retailers such as Wal-Mart, Toys R Us and CVS have announced plans to shift away from products containing BPA.

The Food and Drug Administration has deemed BPA safe, but an investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel revealed that the agency relied on chemical-industry lobbyists in its decision-making, and that a trade group wrote an entire section of the agency's report on the chemical. 

Last month, Chicago became the first city to ban BPA. Minnesota passed a ban a week earlier. Canada last year became the first country to ban BPA in baby bottles. 

A similar ban passed the California Senate last year but died in the Assembly. Advocates of the ban also expect a tough battle this time.

-- Geoffrey Mohan

Photo credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

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