Maryland General Assembly Passes Bill to Ban BPA from Infant Formula

Annapolis, March 26, 2011- The Maryland General Assembly has passed a bill to ban the toxic chemical BPA from infant formula containers. The bill was approved by both chambers unanimously. Pending Gov. O’Malley’s signature, Maryland is poised to become the third state in the nation to phase out the chemical from infant formula containers and send a strong message that our nation’s regulatory framework must be more protective of children’s health.

House Bill 4, sponsored by Delegate James Hubbard (D-Prince George’s County) and Senate Bill 151, sponsored by Senator Brian Frosh (D-Montgomery County), are identical bills that prohibit the use of BPA in infant formula packaging in 2014, and require a safe alternative.

“Maryland PIRG commends the General Assembly for their leadership in protecting children from some of the most toxic chemicals in commerce, like BPA and Cadmium. But there is much more work to be done to protect public health. Of those that have been studied, approximately 1,400 chemicals with known or probable links to cancer, birth defects, reproductive impacts and other health problems are still in use today,” said Maryland PIRG Public Health Associate Jenny Levin.

“Babies and children are especially sensitive to toxic chemicals, and this legislation will protect them from a toxin known to have serious health risks. I’m glad the Assembly has supported this important children’s health initiative,” said Delegate Hubbard.

The National Toxicology Program acknowledged health concerns about children’s exposure to BPA a year ago. In their final report, they stated that current human exposure to bisphenol A is of “some concern” to development of the prostate gland and brain and for behavioral effects in fetuses, infants and children, concluding that “the possibility that BPA may affect human development cannot be dismissed.” In January, 2010, the Food and Drug Administration announced its agreement with the National Toxicology Program that BPA is a concern for developing infants and recommended steps to limit exposure, but it is taking no definitive action to regulate BPA.

“The Food and Drug Administration should have banned BPA in infant products years ago. Without strong federal leadership, Maryland had no choice but to act,” said Senator Frosh.

More than 200 scientific studies have linked very low doses of bisphenol-A to cancers, impaired immune function, early onset of puberty, obesity, diabetes, and hyperactivity, among other problems. Because BPA leaches from baby bottles, cups, and the lining of infant formula cans into milk, formula and juice, our children are receiving repeated low doses of this endocrine disrupting chemical at a very vulnerable age.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have found detectable levels of BPA in 93% of the Americans they’ve tested. On a kilogram of body weight basis, infants and children experience greater exposure to BPA than any other part of the general population.  Based on this knowledge, products that contain BPA that are used for direct food and bodily fluid contact with infants and children should be phased out of commerce.