California’s senior senator, Dianne Feinstein, is pushing for a federal ban on the toxin Biphenyl A (BPA) from food containers as part of the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 which is currently moving through Congress. The chemical industry and some business groups are strongly opposed to Feinstein’s provision, but the Senator cites scientific studies that show BPA’s correlation with various health problems including breast and prostate cancers, diabetes and obesity.
Opponents claim that there is no viable alternative to BPA, which is a component of the epoxy resins used to line metal food cans and the lids of glass jars. They contend Feinstein’s provision would amount to a moratorium on metal food cans and glass jars until the industry finds a suitable alternative. Supporters disagree because the provision includes a renewable one-year waiver for companies looking for a BPA substitute.
Recently, the Insider highlighted Senate Bill 797 (Pavley-D), also know as the Toxics-free Babies and Toddlers Act. SB 797 would ban BPA in consumer products manufactured for babies and toddlers, such as milk bottles, sippy cups, and baby food jars. There is widespread consumer and industry support for the California legislation, which is narrowly tailored to protect children from BPA.
SB 797 passed the Assembly and now returns to the Senate for approval.