OLYMPIA – A bill to ban the use of an industrial chemical found in food and beverage containers used by children sailed through the House on Monday on a 95-1 vote.
If the legislation becomes law, Washington will join Minnesota and Connecticut as the only states to eliminate bisphenol A (BPA) in children’s products.
The vote came 10 days after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voiced concerns about BPA’s potential effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and young children.
Rep. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger, cast the lone vote against it. “If we are going to pass something it shouldn’t be just for show. I felt that bill was just for show,’’ Chandler said later, expressing a preference for national action. He suggested that was already taking place.
In lobbying for the bill, the Washington Toxics Coalition labeled BPA a synthetic sex hormone that research links to a variety of other health effects including cancer, miscarriage, obesity and reproductive problems.
The BPA ban in children’s food and beverage containers, and water bottles was one of three priorities of the environmental community in the 2010 state Legislature.
“This is a great day for children’s health,” said Ivy Sager-Rosenthal, campaign director to the Washington Toxics Coalition. The Senate version of the bill passed out of the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee last week, but not with a BPA ban for sports water bottles, which is included in the House bill.
Some major baby bottle manufacturers, including Advent and Playtex, have started to phase BPA out of their products. Makers of sports water bottles, including Nalgene and CamelBak, have switched to BPA-free materials. In its Jan. 15 announcement, the FDA:
• Supported industry decisions to produce BPA-free baby bottles and infant feeding cups. The federal agency also voiced support for efforts to replace BPA or minimize its use in other food can linings.
• Called for more research into the health effects from exposure to BPA.
The state legislation is necessary because the FDA didn’t endorse an outright ban on BPA in children’s products, supporters of the bill said.
BPA is an industrial chemical used to make a hard, clear plastic known as polycarbonate.
John Dodge: 360-754-5444