For eco-minded families, our purchases mean a lot to us. When we buy toys, food, things for our children, and essentials for our house we trust manufacturers to create safe merchandise. Sadly, however, some toys are not what they appear to be. In fact, many contain materials that actually harm infants and children! A short time ago united united with multiple states in banning the BPA from infant and children products. But what is BPA and why is it now banned?
Bisphenol A (BPA) is an ingredient in many hard plastic products including but not limited to baby bottles, sippy cups and toys. It is also utilized as an ingredient in liners for food containers, including infant formula. BPA is an endocrine disrupter which holds the potential to cause child development problems. BPA has also been linked to autism, breast cancer, childhood obesity, early puberty and hyperactivity.
Currently, the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains that the benefits of plastic packaging including that which contains BPA, outweigh the health and environmental risks. Both agencies also report further research is needed to evaluate possible BPA health dangers. The EPA is at this time continuing its invesitagions. However, California legislators, like several other states, opted to ban BPA based on the strong evidence already available despite claims by the EPA and DHHS.
Research at this time points to a nine-to-one margin in laboratory studies demonstrating that BPA causes harmful health effects (90%) as opposed to no health effects (10%). When detrimental effects occur 90 percent of the time with any component or manufactured good it simply can not be measured as safe to use.
This year California Governor Jerry Brown signed the Toxin-Free Infants and Toddlers Act (Assembly Bill 1319) into state law which will go into effect on July 13 2013. The intent of the law is to defend children from potentially health hazards that result from BPA contact and consumption. It bans the use of BPA in all manufactured goods related to babies and children. The banning of BPA in California as well as nearly a dozen other states is evidence of a widening gap between federal and state health laws and regulations.
Keeping our homes natural and environmentally-conscious is no small task. However, thoughtful, progressive state regulatory laws are just one way to less the daunting task and help protect our children, families, and natural home life.