Environment Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-6572

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING BANNING BISPHENOL-A IN CHILDREN'S PRODUCTS AND FOOD PRODUCTS AND PROHIBITING CERTAIN ALTERNATIVE SUBSTANCES.

Vote Date:

3/6/2009

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

3/2/2009

File No.:

165

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Environment Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

This bill phases in bans on the sale, manufacture, and distribution of products made with bisphenol-A.

It bans, starting January 1, 2010, the sale, manufacture, and distribution of infant formula and baby food stored in containers made with bisphenol-A.

Starting October 1, 2010, it bans the sale, manufacture, and distribution of reusable food and beverage containers made with bisphenol-A.

It requires manufacturers of food products stored in containers made with bisphenol-A to label them accordingly, starting October 1, 2011. It prohibits manufacturers from substituting for bisphenol-A other substances that are or may be carcinogenic.

It bans, as of October 1, 2014, the sale, manufacture, or distribution of any food product contained in a jar, can, or other container made with bisphenol-A.

In committee sections 1 and 6 were removed from the raised bill.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

State of Connecticut Department of Public Health supports this bill. There is increasing evidence that BPA is an endocrine disruptor that can have effects at low doses with the perinatal period likely being most sensitive. There is still some debate about the toxicology but it would be prudent for BPA exposures in early life stages to be minimized to the extent possible.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Polly T. Barey, RN, MS, Connecticut Nurses' Association, supports this bill. We have assumed incorrectly that what is on the market is safe for us. We have also incorrectly assumed that some government agency would let us know if a product is not safe. This bill would achieve a phase out of one of the chemicals of concern. Bisphenol-A is a synthetic estrogen and known hormone/endocrine disrupter. This bill would also prohibit replacement with other toxic hazards. BPA has become widely used in this country over the last few decades. Unsuspecting women can ingest BPA from cans with BPA resin liners and this can cause in-utero exposures. The most vulnerable people to the effects of BPA are children and women of child bearing age. The federal government's lack of oversight and outdated laws and regulations have left the public exposed to these harmful substances. Outdated U.S. standards for exposure to toxic chemicals are based on a core assumption, high does testing procedures adequately predict low-dose effects. Our knowledge has challenged this as we have learned more about low-dose effects. Even with these new scientific studies, using low doses, the standard has not changed. The National Toxicology Program has expressed concern about brain, behavior, and prostate effects at current exposure levels. Over 180 studies done on low dose exposure to BPA have linked the substance to many diseases of modern life. There are also enormous costs associated with BPA.

Amelia M. Borkowski, RN, BSN, Connecticut Association of Parish Nurses, supports this bill. The Connecticut Association of Parish Nurses has identified the reduction of unnecessary toxins as an important focus for their organization. In 2008 Canada proposed to designate BPA as a “toxic” chemical and moved toward banning it in baby bottles. It is time for us to act and protect future generations from toxic chemicals. The hope is that the bill that passes the committee quickly bans BPA in baby bottles, infant formula containers and other products for young children. The hope is that the bill will also set in motion a phase-out of BPA in all food containers. Finally the hope is that this bill will require labeling while this phase out is taking place.

Susan Eastwood, Conversations for a Green CT, supports this bill. The problem of toxic chemical exposure is enormous; however it is evident that these chemicals are most damaging to the young. BPA is a key ingredient in many materials that are used in a wide range of products. Testing has shown that BPA leaches out of these products particularly with heat. Testing also shows that over 90% of our population carries BPA in their bodies. Studies have also linked low doses of the substance to many conditions including breast and prostate cancer, diabetes and birth defects.

Khadija Abdul-Salaam supports this bill. BPA is found in all can linings including infant formula can linings. Children and pregnant women are being exposed and this problem needs to solved. BPA has the ability to cross through the placenta and fetuses cannot get rid of this chemical. In animal studies BPA has even been shown to cause an increase in aggressive behavior. Regulations are needed to push us toward a greener economy and a safer healthier society.

Ann Berman, Chair of the Milford Environmental Concerns Coalition, supports this bill. The ECC believes that it has been sufficiently shown and proven that BPA have and continue to do harm to the human biological systems. BPA is especially dangerous for the unborn and the very young. The solution to these problems is simple, prevention and the use of alternatives.

Joyce Acebo-Raguskus, Chair Diesel Cleanup, Environmental Concerns Coalition, supports this bill. We have learned that using BPA is linked to serious health effects in our children and infants. The FDA has chosen to continue to expose our infants and children to BPA even while Health Canada, the FDA's Canadian counterpart, has decided to ban BPA. Children and infants cannot metabolize BPA as effectively as adults.

Dr. Frederick vom Saal, Ph.D., University of Missouri, supports this bill. There is concern in the scientific community that BPA is causing a wide range of harm. 100% of over 200 experimental animal studies report harm due to exposure to low doses of BPA. They are most concerned about exposure to BPA during the early life of a person because BPA causes permanent adverse effects due to exposure at very low levels during critical periods in development. Due to leaching from the BPA in resin lining of infant formula cans an infants entire intake of food can be contaminated. One of the greatest concerns about BPA is the effects on the developing brain. One of these effects is a decrease in the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is associated with ADHD in children. BPA has also been shown to cause prostate cancer in laboratory animals. BPA is also an environmental hazard when thrown away. BPA has been detected in streams and rivers. The federal regulatory agencies are using 50-year old scientific approaches to reach decisions while ignoring all research conducted by the worlds leading experts using the most advanced techniques to determine the safety of low doses of BPA.

Amanda R. Just, supports this bill. Companies like toys “R” Us and Wal-Mart have phased out sales of toxic toys and products containing BPA, yet we still continue to find these chemicals hidden in products that are impairing not only healthy adults, but even more importantly, the safety of our children and fetuses. This bill is about saving lives.

Mary Lu M. Hickman, M.D. supports this bill. Limiting the use of environmental toxins in foods, beverages and their plastic containers would assist in reducing the alarming increase in childhood disabilities and adult obesity and endocrine disturbances. Current peer reviewed studies document that common chemicals impact health at lower levels than previously believed. This testing also confirms that over 90% of the population carries BPA in their bodies. Fetuses are unable to metabolize BPA and this leads to high levels of toxins that influence brain and body development. Passage of this bill is critically important.

Carolyn Wysocki, President Ecological Health Organizations, Inc. supports this bill. People with multiple Chemical Sensitivities can suffer adverse reactions to low levels of chemicals such as BPA. They are at risk of exposures whenever they go out in public.

Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener, director of the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network, supports this bill. The current system of government oversight is not up to the task of preventing harm from BPA. These materials demonstrate harm to lab animals at clinically relevant levels. Diabetes, cancer, obesity and even mental impairment occur at higher rated in exposed animal populations. This bill is a responsible first step in protecting the most vulnerable citizens.

Jeanne Rizzo, CEO and President of the Breast Cancer Fund, supports this bill. This bill acknowledges what the scientific community has long known: BPA is harmful to human health. BPA can leach into infant formula and other food products especially when heated. BPA was developed as a synthetic estrogen. Decades of research have shown that extensive exposure to estrogens, both natural and synthetic, increases breast cancer risk. Exposure to BPA begins before birth, and this is when the risk of harm is the greatest. BPA has been found in blood samples from developing fetuses as well as in placental tissues and the surrounding amniotic fluid and in human breast milk. Because BPA is an endocrine disrupting compound lower doses are more dangerous than high doses. Increasing evidence is also showing that when it comes to chemicals and children it is about the timing of the exposure, not just the dose. Banning the use of BPA could reduce the risk of breast cancer in generations to come.

Karen A. Owen, RN, MSN, supports this bill. We know based on good scientific evidence that toxic chemicals affect out bodies even at low doses. We can provide a safer, healthier environment for our mothers, fathers, children and yet unborn children by passing legislation that raises standards that are safer for the human race.

Loyola Welsh, Education Director, CEIU, SEIU Local 511, supports this bill. It is time for Connecticut to legislate safer chemical use for our citizens. The concern is for the health and safety of the union members on the job as well as for their families. Solutions exist to our chemical exposure issue.

Michael Schade, Campaign Coordinator, Center for Health, Environment and Justice, supports this bill. Studies on laboratory animals have linked BPA to obesity, diabetes, thyroid disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer and other illnesses. Canada was the first national jurisdiction to consider designating BPA as toxic to hum health and the environment. In American, retailers such as Wal-Mart, CVS, Toys “R” Us, Kmart, and Sears have all committed to phase out BPA contaminated baby bottles. Playtex has also announce that they will replace infant feeding products made with BPA by the end of 2008. Companies that make infant formula have also announced they are committed to making all food and formula packaging BPA-free as soon as possible. Nalgene, a water bottle company has announced they will phase out BPA in the water bottles they sell. There is economic growth from the market rejecting BPA and through the growth of safer BPA-free alternatives. Over the past year a growing number of states have introduced legislation to ban BPA. Comprehensive legislation is needed to reform our nation's outdated chemical policies to get toxic chemicals out of everyday consumer products.

Laura N. Vandenberg, PhD, Center for Regenerative & Developmental Biology, Tufts University, supports this bill. BPA has been measured in many human samples. Several studies report relatively high levels of BPA in the blood of pregnant women, umbilical cord blood and fetal plasma. This indicates that BPA crosses the maternal-fetal placental barrier. BPA has also been measured in urine. At this time only one large and well-controlled study of the possible health effects of BPA exposure on humans has been conducted. This study revealed a positive correlation between urinary BPA concentrations and the prevalence of diabetes, heart disease and liver toxicity. Animal studies have also illustrated significant connections between BPA exposure and disease. Exposure to BPA can also have an effect on both male and female reproduction. Recent studies have also shown a connection between early BPA exposure and cancer.

Martha Kelly supports this bill. In animal studies BPA has been linked to a host of reproductive disorders. Avoiding exposure to BPA appears to be beyond the ability of anyone, 93% of humans are found to have the substance in their bodies. BPA has also been linked to diabetes and obesity. BPA is a serious public health concern for everyone.

Lynn Warner, Executive Director, the Arc of Connecticut, supports this bill. This bill would be an important step in keeping our children safe. Testing confirms that over 90% of our population carries BPA in their bodies. Science has also linked low doses of the substance to a number of health issues including birth defects.

Annamarie Beaulieu, Campaign Director, Connecticut Public Health Association, supports this bill. BPA is an endocrine disruptor that is widely used in the manufacturing of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Humans are routinely exposed to this chemical. Findings suggest a significant relationship between urine concentrations of BPA and an increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and liver-enzyme abnormalities. Human fetuses, infants, children and teenagers undergo critical windows of development when they are particularly vulnerable to adverse health effects of endocrine disrupters like BPA. Safer alternatives do exist; there are currently BPA free baby bottles available from several manufacturers. Other states such as Washington and California are also working hard on similar pieces of legislation that will ban BPA from children's products.

Dr. Hugh Taylor, Professor and Director of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Yale University, supports this bill. There is increasing evidence that BPA disrupts normal growth and development in many species of animals due to their hormonal activity. A growing number of government-sponsored scientists believe that effects found in animals may plausibly occur in humans. At present, no legal mechanism is in place at any level of government to assure warning or protection against exposure to BPA.

Phil Sherwood, Deputy Director of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group, supports this bill. BPA is in the linings of many food and beverage cans and is used to make polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. BPA leaches into food and drinks where it is commonly ingested. Testing has proven that over 90% of our population has BPA in their bodies. Science has linked low doses of BPA to infertility, obesity, early puberty, breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, thyroid malfunction, birth defects and ADD. BPA has been known to be a hormone disrupter since the 1930's. Because of mounting scientific evidence some companies are phasing BPA out of their products. The chemical industry knows that the days of BPA are numbered and there efforts are focused on delaying regulation. Last year they spend over $300,000 in lobbying expenses in an attempt to push their corporate funded “voodoo” science claiming that not only is BPa not harmful but that it might be healthy to children. BPA lingers far longer in the bodies of babies than in adults because of the lack of a liver enzyme needed to break it down. Researchers and health professionals recommend that parents should try to make sure their babies have no exposure to BPA and that pregnant women should minimize what they ingest to protect their developing fetuses.

Sarah A. Uhl, Environmental Health Coordinator, Clean Water Action, supports this bill. This bill would address a widespread public health and environmental hazard. Growing children are the most at risk to chemicals in their environment. Children's exposure begin at conception, as chemicals, including BPA, cross the placenta in a pregnant woman's body and can effect the embryo or fetus during critical periods of development. The fetuses do not have the enzymes necessary to metabolize or break down these chemicals. BPA levels in humans are above harmful levels found in studies to cause harm. 95% of Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their bodies. In a recent CDC study, they observed BPA levels 0.1 to 9 parts per billion were at and above concentrations known to reliably cause adverse effects in laboratory experiments. Even though the safe level of BPA exposure set by U.S. EPA is 50 parts per billion there are severe effects at significantly lower doses of BPA. Independent science has shown the harmful effects of BPA, while the industry science has not. None of the 14 studies funded by the chemical industry reported adverse effects at low levels, however 189 out of 204 government funded studies found effects. Leading companies are already shifting to products that do not have BPA. The FDA recently announced that they will revisit their previous conclusion that BPA is safe. This process will involve new and continued research. Their most recent assessment was based mainly on a review of a small number of flawed chemical industry funded studies, not the dozens of independent studies.

Margaret Miner, Executive Director, Rivers Alliance of Connecticut, supports this bill. The ubiquitous brew of hormone-disrupting chemicals is affecting the sexual development of fish, amphibians, and according to some studies, humans as well. Remediation and treatment once contamination with exposure have occurred is extremely difficult and expensive.

Gretchen Raffa, Planned Parenthood of Connecticut, supports this bill. There is growing scientific evidence that shows some industrial chemicals, called hormone disrupters can cause serious risk for women's health. One of the effects of BPA exposure is infertility. Planned Parenthood was shocked to learn that US women are experiencing a dramatic increase of infertility. Women aged 25 and younger are reporting the most significant increase in self-identified fertility problems.

Theresa Sullivan Barger supports this bill. Many researchers are worried that exposure to BPA is harmful to the health of developing fetuses and children. Canada and Europe have already moved toward banning BPA. Maine and Washington have passed broad reforms similar to the Safer Alternatives bill.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America support this bill. PhRMA commends the committee's intent to increase protections for the safety and general welfare of Connecticut's children. They would like to see an exemption for biologics and the packaging of druns and biologics from the definition of hazardous substance from the definition of hazardous substance in section 1.

Section 1 was removed from the raised bill.

David Horn supports this bill. BPA is a hormonally active chemical that mimics the effects of naturally occurring estrogen. BPA's effects in the body are not explained by using the label “not hazardous” yet the plastics industry seems to be using this label to downplay recent independent science-based studies on the chemical's complex effects. We cannot ignore the recent independent studies which conclude that BPA chemical action may influence fetal development and contribute to low sperm counts. Many companies are already taking steps to reformulate their products using green chemicals and clean technologies.

Martin Mador, Legislative and Political Chair of the Connecticut Sierra Club, supports this bill. BPA is estimated to be in over 90% of Americans. It is implicated in a wide range of disease, including infertility, obesity, breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, thyroid malfunction and birth defects. Sierra club considers this bill a priority bill for the session.

Richard Blumenthal, Attorney General of the State of Connecticut, supports this bill. Growing scientific shows that even small amounts of BPA damages reproductive neurological and immune systems and low levels of BPa have been linked to series health problems. A recent Yale School of Medicine clearly shows that BPA can cause brain fluctuations and mood disorders in monkeys. Another recent study suggests BPA may affect human development. State law must ensure that all products are BPA-free.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

International Formula Council opposes this bill. Specifically the IFC opposes the provisions that would prohibit manufacturers from offering for sale in the state an infant formula or baby food that is stored in a plastic container, jar or can that contains BPA. No government agency anywhere in the world has banned BPA in food packaging and the World Health Organization has found no basis to issue health warnings about BPA. Infant health and welfare is the primary focus of the IFC and they take all potential safety issues very seriously. A 2010 ban in children's products such as infant formulas, containing BPA as proposed by this bill would result in a reduction in the number and forms of infant formula products available to consumers. IFC members agree with the Canadian health Minister that the benefits of continuing to make canned liquid formulas available, while working to minimize exposure to BPA, would serve the best interests of public health and consumers.

Bonny Betancourt, the American Chemistry Council, opposes this bill. The FDA has concluded that, “an adequate margin of safety exists for BPA at current levels of exposure from food contact uses, for infants and adults.” The U.S. National Toxicology Program has found no direct evidence for health effects in people and confirmed that human exposure to BPA is very low. In 2007 the European Food Safety Authority increased by a factor of five the safe intake level for BPA that was established in 2002. In October 2008, the Canadian government announced the conclusion of its screening risk assessment stating, “The current research tells us the general public need not be concerned. In general, most Canadians are exposed to very low levels of bispheno-A, therefore it does not pose a health risk.” The Legislature needs to consider that an abundance of precaution is already factored into the existing federal and international regulatory programs governing good safety.

Lorin Alusic, Director, State affairs Northeastern Region, the Association of Food, Beverage and Consumer Products Companies, opposes this bill. BPA does not pose a risk to the health and wellbeing of the citizens of Connecticut. The FDA, EFSA and the WHO have al evaluated and proved the safety of BPA. For over 40 years BPA has played an essential part in food preservation. Extensive studies have also looked at the potential for BPA to migrate from can coatings and food containers into various kinds of foods under various conditions, experts have concluded that human exposure to these substances from food packaging is minimal and poses no risk.

Geoffrey Cullen, Director of Government Relations, Can Manufacturers Institute, opposes this bill. Passage of this bill would impact consumers of all ages. BPA is a key component in the metal packaging that is critical to the safety of food and beverages. BPA is essential to prevent contamination and deterioration and spoilage of food products. The majority of canned products, foods and beverages are not segmented based on who is going to consume them. The target consumer is not a valid differentiating factor in the metal package design. This legislation would be disruptive to the entire food manufacturing and distribution chain. Companies are likely to be reluctant to distribute in Connecticut any metal packaged food or beverage product that could have even a remote potential for being consumed by children under the age of three.

Reported by: Chris Zavagnin

Date: 3/26/09