The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
August 15, 2008

Oh goody! BPA in my mailbox!

I received the following gem in my home mailbox last week:


The American Chemistry Council is bringing out the big guns and trying to frighten Californians into opposing the state’s proposed ban on Bisphenol-A (an additive in polycarbonate plastic and in the plastic lining of most food cans) in containers and canned foods meant for babies and toddlers.

The industry’s scare tactics include the following language, “Soon, many common, everyday products could disappear from grocery store shelves across California,” and “Your favorite Products May Soon Disappear.” The brochure urges recipients to call their Assembly Member and ask them to vote no on SB1713.

The brochure shows photos of women shoppers looking at various products they’ve picked up from the shelves. Only one of these products is a can. The other two appear to be boxes, which wouldn’t contain BPA in the first place. AND none of the products appears to be intended primarily for children, as the language of the bill states. Here’s the full summary of SB1713:

SUMMARY : Enacts the Toxin-Free Toddlers and Babies Act which prohibits the sale, manufacture or distribution in commerce of food containers for children that contain bisphenol A (BPA) above a specified level. Specifically, this bill :

1)Prohibits the manufacture, sale, or distribution in commerce of any bottle, cup, or other container that contains BPA, at a level above 0.1 parts per billion (ppb), if the container is designed or intended to be filled with any liquid, food, or beverage primarily for consumption by infants or children three years of age or younger.

2)Prohibits, commencing January 1, 2012, the manufacture, sale, or distribution in commerce of any liquid, food, or beverage in a can, jar, or other container containing BPA, at a level above 0.5 ppb, if the liquid, food, or beverage is designed or intended primarily for consumption by infants or children three years of age or younger.

3)Clarifies that the prohibitions in this bill do not apply to food and beverage containers designed or intended primarily to contain liquid, food, or beverages for consumption by the general population.

To be sure, the brochure was annoying, but also quite helpful. Until it arrived in my mailbox, I actually didn’t realize this bill was coming up for a vote, and the inclusion of the name and phone number of my assembly member on the back made it especially easy for me to call and urge Sandre Swanson to vote YES on the bill.

In fact, according to an article on Enviroblog a few days ago, the industry’s strategy seems to be backfiring. Many other Californians, like me, are irritated by this misleading campaign and are doing exactly what I did.

Do you live in California and if so, have you received this brochure? If so, please call your assembly member and ask them to Vote YES on SB1713. Didn’t receive the brochure? You can call your Assembly member anyway. You can find your representative’s phone number on this CA Assembly Member List by clicking “Find Your Legislator by your address.”

For more information about the dangers of BPA, read Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Bisphenol-A and EWG’s Survey of BPA in Canned Foods.

11 comments
Alexandra
Alexandra

Thank you for speaking out about BPA and plastic in our lives. You have given us an education and we pass that on to others. Just today our local grocery store agreed to put up a sign asking if people remembered to bring their own bags. I passed this phone number on to my son who lives in CA. To Clif, I HEART Our Stolen Future. I keep a stack of them and give them away to guests at my green B&B. I learned so much from that book. Everyone should read it. In January Dr. Colborn made a five-minute video for YouTube about E. D. in which she said that endocrine disruptors will get us before global warming does. Really worthwhile. You can probably Google it.

PollyAnna
PollyAnna

I'm wondering if such a bill is coming up again? I see that this was not passed. Maybe the timing is better now for such a change?

Clif
Clif

Beth, I didn't see a search box for FPF, maybe I missed it. I wanted to see if you had ever mentioned the book, Our Stolen Future. It's excellent and speaks to issues that are pertinent to FPF. I recommend it for reading by all fishies. Here's a review of it I just posted at Amazon.comGreat credit needs to be given to Dianne Dumanoski, the writer who teamed up with researchers Colborn and Myers to produce this very readable warning to all of us. Research information can easily bog a reader down but this book keeps moving with revelation after revelation. I kept running to my PC to check for later information on the studies covered in this book (written in 1997) and I found nothing to refute the central claim that we are "flying blind" by releasing thousands of chemical formulations annually without knowing what the results will be in the wild.Once released, many chemicals have very long lives and several accumulate in our bodies to be handed on through a mother's milk to the next generation, with a likelihood that fetal development is affected and with it the future...a future that is being stolen in this way.The reader is never left confused. The book starts with a clear and simple explanation of the power of hormones and the way they work within our bodies (and those of other animals). Then we move through accounts of troubles in the natural world and the link they may have with hormone disruption either by enhancement or blocking. No wild claims are made, instead a case is made with reasonable hypotheses given in each instance as we move through what the cover rightly says is a scientific detective story.Ignorance can hurt us and humanity has a track record of ignorance resulting in damage (think CFC's, lead, DDT, Thalidomide). Profit is a powerful incentive to minimize risks and the chemical industry is a very very big business so we must be extremely vigilant for our own good. This book provides a public service to us all.

Molly
Molly

The American Chemistry folks are a big business lobby, but let's also remember that chemistry brings us lots of super awesome stuff, like medicine and blood bags (I gave blood this morning so it's kinda on my mind). Also, using BPA to seal cans is way better than bacteria and viruses getting in. And shatterproof plastics are better than dangerous shards every time a toddler in a "no" phase throws his bottle on the floor.

Radical Garbage Man
Radical Garbage Man

I e-mailed the family in California and pointed out to them that those of us in little states count on you all, as the largest market in the nation for consumer goods, to set consumer safety standards that impact what we end up buying out here in the "great fly-over."(Note to California and New York: only WE are allowed to call ourselves the great fly-over -- YOU are likely to have your nose bloodied)

Stephanie
Stephanie

I got that the other day. I decided not to immediately throw it in the recycling so that others in the house could have a laugh at it too.And now, reading the bill, I wonder how they thought the language of that pamphlet would work. Geez.

Robj98168
Robj98168

It isn't a lie Abbie- It is streching the truth! Or as The sheriff in "The best little whorehouse in texas" sang "OOOOOOOH I love to dance a little sidestep!" Or three eyed fish is evolution not a nuclear reactor caused mutation.(The SImpsons)It is at most a highly irresponsible pile of bullshit the american Chemistry Council is probably paying top dollar for to keep their livelyhood going.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Thanks FPF!I do live in Ca and I did see this flyer and I thought it was mighty suspicious. I'm glad to find out about it here and I will contact my representative. Lisa

Village Green
Village Green

Outstanding piece of writing, Beth! I wonder how these industry people can live with themselves, making money off of products and packaging that is harmful to other people, not to mention to the planet at large? Better living through Chemistry - bah!

Abbie
Abbie

Interesting, thanks for posting about it, as I don't live in California and this is the first I heard about the bill. The really annoying part for me is that they're not banning products, as the flyer would lead you to believe. They're banning packaging types, so the companies are more than able to substitute other packagings. I hate it when big business lies to the public, assuming we're stupid enough not to figure it out.

Bobbi
Bobbi

I don't live in California, but I'm sick and tired of big business trying to tell us little folk how to live and what to buy.If big business and the government were more concerned about saving the environment instead of making 'mo money, 'mo money, 'mo money - our country would be much better off!