You may have heard by now that New York has become the seventh state (preceded by Connecticut, Vermont, Maryland, Minnesota, Washington, and Wisconsin) to ban BPA in children’s products, but you may not have learned a lot about BPA and its questionable health risks. What is BPA and why did New York decide to ban the sale of kids’ products that use it? Here’s a bit more information that may help you understand!
A brief rundown of BPA:
The acronym “BPA” stands for “bisphenol A,” and it’s present in a few different types of plastics (the “A” in “bisphenol A” stands for “acetone”). It’s most often used in harder plastics, like some reusable sports bottles and baby bottles. Although substantial BPA research has been conducted in the United States, Canada, and the European Union, there hasn’t been much conclusive evidence that public health could be at risk because of its low-level presence in plastics. Some scientists have linked high-level BPA exposure to diseases and conditions such as cancer, obesity, and diabetes, but the FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) is still considering possible effects from the amount of BPA that’s present in some plastics used for food or drink. As of January 2010, the jury is still out on the FDA’s stance on BPA.
Which types of plastics contain BPA?
BPA is most commonly used in type 3 (PVC) or type 7 (miscellaneous) plastics. These types of plastics are most likely to allow BPA transfer (from the bottle to its contents) when they’re used, particularly when they’re microwaved or washed in dishwashers. You can check the plastic code on the bottom of products if BPA is a concern; types 3 and 7 usually contain BPA unless otherwise specified, but types 1 (PET), 2 (HDPE), 4 (LDPE), 5 (PP), and 6 (PS) do not use BPA. See our plastics guide for more information regarding plastic types and classifications.
BPA can also be found in other everyday products, like aluminum can linings, eyeglasses, bicycle helmets, cars, DVD cases, and even paper receipts. Urine tests have shown that BPA is found in 93% of Americans and in 90% of newborns. (Information from asicentral.com)
Why did New York ban BPA in children’s products?
By now, you should have a better understanding of BPA and its possible ties to serious health risks. New York banned BPA for the same reason that 6 other states have banned BPA prior to this: the accused effects are too prominent to ignore or brush aside. The Food and Drug Administration maintained that BPA was safe up until January 2010, when they announced that the chemical was worthy of more extensive study; there’s no hard evidence that BPA harms children, but some studies connect the chemical to hindered brain development, heart disease, and cancer. Isn’t it better to be safe rather than sorry, especially when it comes to children? New York’s BPA ban unanimously passed the NY Assembly and Senate in June, and it will go into effect (tentatively) on December 1, 2010.
New York may have been the 7th U.S. state to ban BPA, but they won’t be the last. Personally, I’m a bit terrified about what I’ve read on the subject of BPA and its potential health risks, so I more than support New York’s ban decision. What do YOU think? Would you have done the same thing if faced with such a decision? Leave a comment below and speak your mind. Thanks for reading the Quality Logo Products blog!