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Steve Blackledge,
U.S. PIRG

Washington State Legislature Passes Ban On Toxic BPA In Baby Bottles and Kids’ Dishware

Washington Second State to Ban BPA in Sports Bottles
For Immediate Release

Olympia, WA— The Washington State House today overwhelmingly passed the Safe Baby Bottle Act (SSB 6248), a bill to eliminate the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) from baby bottles, sippy cups, and other children’s dishware, as well as from sports bottles. The vote was 96-1. The Senate is likely to concur and Governor Gregoire is expected to sign the bill.

“This is a huge victory for children’s health and for parents. Dangerous chemicals like BPA have no place in baby bottles, sippy cups or any product children put in their mouths,” said State Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-Seattle), the prime sponsor of the house version of the legislation. “Parents can soon go to the store with confidence and buy a bottle for their baby that won’t contain BPA.”

“The Legislature gets a gold medal for protecting children’s health,” said Ivy Sager Rosenthal, campaign director for the Washington Toxics Coalition. “BPA is a bad actor chemical, and Washington has done the right thing in getting it out of products that expose kids and pregnant women. The bill sends a strong message to companies that they should stop using BPA in all of their products.”

The Safe Baby Bottle Act eliminates BPA from baby bottles, sippy cups, and other food and beverage containers intended for children 3 years of age and under beginning July 2011. It also bans BPA in sports bottles beginning July 2012.

With passage of the bill, Washington becomes only the second state to ban BPA in sports bottles, and the fifth state to ban the chemical in baby bottles and other children’s food and beverage containers. Maryland and Wisconsin passed bans earlier this year and Minnesota and Connecticut passed bans in 2009. Several other states, including California, Vermont, New York, and Illinois have similar bans pending.

The bill was one of the top priorities of the Environmental Priorities Coalition and was supported by a diverse coalition of doctors, nurses, consumer advocates, children’s advocates, and environmentalists. Members of the coalition reacted to passage of the bill:

"This is a big victory for Washington's children," said WashPIRG Consumer Advocate Blair Anundson. "Washingtonians will be able to shop in the state's stores with confidence thanks to this bill. I hope that producers of other BPA-laden products will look at what our state legislature has done and begin phasing this dangerous chemical out of all of their products nationwide."

“This is terrific news – I applaud the House for recognizing the real threat that BPA poses, and further protecting Washington’s families and environment,” said Clifford Traisman, state lobbyist, Washington Environmental Council and Washington Conservation Voters.

“This bill is a great win for Washington’s children,” said Karen Bowman, environmental health specialist with the Washington State Nurses Association. “Children have the right to reach their full potential and the Safe Baby Bottle Act is a great step in the right direction. Nurses across the State are celebrating!!”

“This is a significant victory for women and families in Washington, who shouldn’t be burdened with trying to figure out which child food containers and sports bottles are safe,” said Elaine Rose, CEO, Planned Parenthood VOTES! Washington. “This overdue law will ensure healthier pregnancies and healthier children.”

“Chemicals like BPA have no place in consumer products, especially those used by children, and we commend the Washington State Legislature for moving this legislation,” said Cherie Eicholz, executive director of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. “Passage of this bill signifies a step in the right direction of guaranteeing all of Washington’s children have an opportunity to mature in the healthiest environment possible.”

Major baby bottle manufacturers, including Avent, and Playtex, have started phasing out the use of BPA in their products. Nalgene and Camelbak, makers of sports water bottles, have already made the switch to BPA-free materials.

BPA is a synthetic sex hormone that research links to health effects, including cancer, miscarriage, obesity, reproductive problems, and hyperactivity. Recent scientific studies also show infants are more susceptible to BPA because it stays longer in their bodies than adults. Research also shows exposure to BPA puts girls at an increased risk of breast cancer. Earlier this year, the Federal Food and Drug Administration registered its concern about BPA, citing evidence that BPA affects the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children.

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