California is moving close to a ban on bisphenol A in baby products.
Reversing a no vote of 37-29 taken just three days earlier, the state Assembly voted 41-31 on July 1 to approve a ban on BPA. The bill now goes to the Senate, which last year approved a BPA ban that was rejected by the Assembly.
California's ban would go into effect Jan. 1, 2012, on baby bottles and other feeding products for children ages 3 and younger. The ban would further apply to infant formula cans, starting July 1, 2012.
New York recently became the fifth state this year and the seventh in the last two years to pass a ban on BPA. If Gov. David Paterson signs the legislation, as expected, New York will be the largest state to date with a BPA ban.
Vermont, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Washington, Maryland, Minnesota, the city of Chicago and four counties in New York state Albany, Schenectady, Suffolk and Rockland have BPA bans.
BPA is used to make polycarbonate plastics for products including baby bottles, sports bottles, reusable food and drink containers, bicycle helmets, CDs and DVDs. The chemical is also an ingredient in the epoxy resins used to line metal cans.
A number of laboratory studies have linked BPA a synthetic estrogen to birth defects, low birth weight, cancer, early puberty and other health problems in rats. However, 11 safety agencies around the world have said BPA is safe for use in food-contact applications.
The six major manufacturers of baby bottles last year agreed to stop selling PC bottles in the United States. Epoxy resins, however, are still used in the lining of most canned foods and beverages, including infant formula.
In late March, the Environmental Protection Agency began a series of actions to address potential effects of BPA and issued an action plan that concentrates on the chemical's environmental effects.
EPA said it would look to add BPA to its list of chemicals of concern, which would mandate environmental testing for BPA.
In mid-January, the Food and Drug Administration reversed its long-held stance that BPA is safe for food-contact applications. Regulators said they were particularly concerned about BPA's effect on the development of fetuses, infants and young children. However, FDA did not ban BPA or require manufacturers to label products that contain BPA, saying there is not enough information to require that.
About 7 billion pounds of BPA is produced globally each year for use in baby bottles, dental sealants, water bottles, food cans and a variety of other items.
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