Processing Magazine

Democrats want plastics chemical banned from kids'' products

May 1, 2008
According to the Associated Press, a bill introduced by Senate Democrats seeks to ban manufacturers from using a potentially unsafe chemical common in baby bottles, toys and other children''s products.

The chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, is used in shatterproof plastic water bottles, canned food linings and hundreds of other common items. In April, a government report concluded there is "some concern" about its risks to infants and children.

A bill introduced by Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., would ban the chemical from children''s products and order the Centers for Disease Control to conduct a study of its risks to youngsters.

The bill has the support of several key Democrats -- including Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and John Kerry of Massachusetts -- but no Republicans have pledged support.

The American Chemical Council, which represents chemical makers, said the legislation would "create unnecessary public alarm" and remove products from the market that have already been deemed safe.

The group says BPA has been used safely for 50 years and is not a danger to humans at low levels.

CDC has previously reported that 90 percent of Americans are exposed to low levels of BPA, which leeches out of food containers in trace amounts.

Experiments on rats have linked the chemical to changes in behavior and the brain, early puberty and precancerous changes in the prostate and breast. Canada has said it may ban its use in baby bottles.

More than 6 million pounds of bisphenol are produced in U.S. each year by manufacturers, including Dow Chemical and Bayer AG.