In the wake of the first evidence that American babies are born contaminated with a plastics chemical linked to birth defects and breast cancer, Congress must act immediately to protect infants and mothers.
The House and Senate are considering bills to ban bisphenol A, or BPA, in food and beverage containers. The bills, by Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, would protect consumers from this hormone-disrupting chemical used in hard plastic baby bottles and food containers and the lining of food cans.
"More than 200 studies show that even tiny doses of BPA can harm the developing fetus," said Janet Nudelman, policy director at the Breast Cancer Fund. "Connecticut and Minnesota have banned it in baby bottles and other children's products and many major retailers have pulled it from their shelves. Congress has to catch up with the states and the marketplace and protect all Americans."
A new study by Environmental Working Group found BPA in 9 of the 10 umbilical cord blood samples tested. Animal studies previously showed that BPA can pass though the placenta from mothers to their offspring, but this is the first evidence that U.S. infants are born pre-polluted with the chemical.
"This is not surprising, but it's alarming," said Janet Gray, Ph.D., director of the Environmental Risks and Breast Cancer project at Vassar College. "We already knew over 90 percent of American adults and children over the age of 6 have BPA in their bodies. Now we know babies in the U.S. are born pre-polluted with BPA. What more evidence do we need to act?"
BPA is one of the most pervasive chemicals in modern life. It is found in baby bottles, water bottles, food storage containers, and also the lining of food cans, including infant formula cans.
Studies link BPA exposure to breast and prostate cancer, obesity, altered brain development, lowered sperm counts and early-onset puberty.
The Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2009 by Feinstein and Markey would ban BPA in all reusable food and beverage containers including baby bottles, sports water bottles and food storage containers, and all food and beverage packaging including canned food, infant formula and water bottles.
SOURCE Breast Cancer Fund