Sunday, July 4, 2010

A quarter loaf of SB 797

SB 797 passed the assembly and will go back to the Senate for concurrence in amendments. This is good news, though it would have been better if compromises hadn't had to be made. I've talked about this bill several times before. I haven't cared this much about a piece of legislation in some time.

Bisphenol A is a chemical used in making clear, hard, pretty much shatter-proof bottles to sell food and beverages in. It is also a synthetic hormone that, among other things, affects development of sexual parts in fetuses and behavior in toddlers. Look at this Wikipedia article on it and scroll down to the Previous Studies section for a list, a long list, of bad stuff it does to people.

This bill would ban the use of bisphenol A in food or beverage containers intended for kids 0-3, except for containers of dry or liquid formula. I have no idea why that amendment was put in. Well, I have an idea, my usual guess in these cases, which is that lobbyists for businesses with a financial stake in it made their case successfully to legislators who have only been in office a couple of years and don't know anything, and besides, they're contributors.

I'm not a chemist, and I don't know what manufacturers would have to sacrifice to take it out of all food and beverage bottles. Maybe transparency. Maybe cost. Maybe non-bisphenol A bottles break easier. But the dangers of infants drinking synthetic hormones seems so great that we need to put up with the industrial sacrifice, no matter what it is.

Of course, I'd like to see bisphenol A taken out of all food and beverage containers, but this quarter loaf is better than none.

The attorney general of Connecticut asked manufacturers a couple of years ago to voluntarily stop using it in baby bottles. Six agreed, and they should be noted and commended:
  • Gerber 
  • Avent America, Inc 
  • Evenflo Co. 
  • Disney First Years 
  • Dr. Brown 
  • Playtex Products, Inc.
I'd like to see a list of those that didn't.

Even more, I'd like to see SB 797 pass the state senate, maybe even with formula bottles unexempted.

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