BPA ban to go into effect without Governor's signature

Posted Wednesday, April 27, 2011 in Sustainable Maine

BPA ban to go into effect without Governor's signature

AUGUSTA -- Governor Paul LePage had threatened to veto the bisphenol-A (BPA) rules, which would phase out the hormone-disruptor chemical from plastic products used by children, by preventing their sale in Maine.  According to LePage, the rules were anti-business. But that was before the House voted 145-3 and the Senate voted 35-0 to support the new rules.

While LePage will not veto the rule, which was sure to be overridden, he can't bring himself to sign it.  So the rule, LD412 (Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Portions of Chapter 882: Designation of Bisphenol A as a Priority Chemical and Regulation of Bisphenol-A in Children's Products, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Environmental Protection) will go into effect without his signature.

LD412 will keep BPA from being used to make baby bottles, sippy cups and other reusable food and beverage containers sold in Maine, in favor of commercially widespread safer alternatives. The rules were adopted unanimously in December by the Board of Environmental Protection.

BPA can reduce immune function, impair brain development, and has been linked to diseases like breast and prostate cancers later in life. According to the National Institute of Health, 93 percent of Americans have BPA in their bodies at levels that may be harmful. Exposure comes from activities like eating canned food or drinking from polycarbonate plastic bottles.

Scientific experts around the world have concluded that this chemical is a risk to human health.
The BPA rules came before the Maine Legislature as a result of the Kid-Safe Products Act, which was adopted in 2007 as an aid to helping parents protect their children from harmful chemicals in consumer products.

The Kid-Safe Products Act creates a process to:

During a six-month public hearing and comment period, the Board of Environmental Protection heard the consensus of the nation’s top scientists that BPA is dangerous, even in small doses, such as those we are exposed to every day in products such as food and beverage containers, including sippy cups and baby bottles.

Both large and small businesses in Maine urged the Board of Environmental Protection to adopt a rule to phase BPA out of consumer products. Also, big companies like Nestle, Heinz, and General Mills have pledged to eliminate BPA from their food packaging. Walmart and many companies that produce baby bottles and infant formula, have taken action to eliminate BPA from their products.

Because the scientific evidence against BPA is overwhelming and safer alternatives are readily available, Maine’s Board of Environmental Protection voted 5-0 that BPA should be eliminated from these products and replaced with safer alternatives when feasible. With the Maine Legislature's affirmation, Maine became the ninth state to restrict the use of BPA for these products, after CT, MA, MD, MN, NY, VT, WA and WI. Canada and the European Union have already banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups.

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