Olympia, WA – Armed with a giant 20-foot inflatable baby bottle, nearly 100 parents, kids, doctors, and nurses rallied at the state Capitol today in support of the Safe Baby Bottle Act (SHB 1180). They gathered on the Capitol steps and asked state legislators to pass the legislation, which will eliminate the hormone-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles and other children’s food containers. The bill is awaiting floor action.
The sponsor of the legislation, Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-36), told the crowd, “This is a really big baby bottle because we need to protect babies and children against a really big threat from BPA. That’s why I introduced this bill and why we need to pass it as soon as possible!”
Rep. Zack Hudgins (D-11), a co-sponsor of the legislation, said, “How can you be against this bill? If baby bottles are being manufactured with toxic chemicals, we need to stop it. The health of our infants should be our top priority.”
Many doctors, and nurses, and other health professionals voiced concern about children’s exposures to BPA. They delivered a letter to legislators, signed by over 250 Washington state health professionals, urging passage of the legislation.
Karen Bowman with the Washington State Nurses Association said, “We’re here to tell legislators that BPA has no business in baby bottles or anything else children eat from. The Safe Baby Bottle Act is common sense legislation to protect children’s health and it must pass soon.”
The giant baby bottled arrived at the Capitol, days after Suffolk County, New York passed a ban on BPA in baby bottles similar to the one proposed in Washington State. If the legislation becomes law, Washington State’s ban would be the first state restrictions on BPA in children’s products. Several other states have pending BPA legislation this year, including Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon, Texas, and Vermont.
Attendees at the rally also delivered over 3000 postcards, signed by concerned parents, grandparents, and other consumers from every state legislative district, to legislators urging swift passage of the legislation.
BPA is a synthetic sex hormone that research links to health effects, including cancer, miscarriage, obesity, reproductive problems, and hyperactivity. In addition, recent scientific studies show infants are more susceptible to BPA because it stays longer in their bodies than adults. Research also shows exposure to BPA puts girls at an increased risk of breast cancer. BPA is used in polycarbonate plastic baby bottles, sippy cups, and other containers.
More than 30 health, environmental, consumer, and children’s advocates have endorsed the bill, including the Washington Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Washington State Nurses Association, Washington Conservation Voters, Children’s Alliance, People For Puget Sound, and WashPIRG.