AB 1319 - The Nanny State Expands
By Nick Kump, Vice President Elmets Communications and Sacramento Young Republican Executive Board Member
The Sacramento Bee reported yesterday that Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 1319, a bill that will ban BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups made or sold in California.
Despite the absence of a single credible study linking BPA directly to any harm whatsoever, beginning July 1, 2013 bottles and cups made for children under age 3 may not contain bisphenol A, a common chemical in clear plastic containers.
Supporters of the bill including its author Assemblywoman Betsy Butler, D-Marina Del Rey, along with environmental groups, labor unions and consumer groups argued that BPA harms babies when it leaches from containers into their milk and food.
AB 1319 was opposed by chemical makers, employers and industry groups, including the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Manufacturers and Technology Association and the American Chemistry Council.
What supporters miss in their zeal to ban BPA are two things: one is that the legislature is the wrong forum for this decision, and two is that BPA might as well already be banned on baby bottles in California.
There are regulatory measures in place whose purpose for existing is to address the concerns raised by the supporters of this bill. But instead of politicians who are vulnerable to the influence of interest groups on both sides of aisle, it is chemists, doctors and other experts who should be making the decisions. These are the people who should have final authority to determine the regulation of BPA, not a bunch of politicians looking to curry favor with special interests.
Even if it was within the legislature’s scope of authority to tell people what they can and cannot purchase, this legislation is practically pointless in light of the market for baby products in California. If you go into the baby aisle of any store in California, I challenge anyone to find a product meant for a child that does not expressly say BPA FREE on it. The free market has a way of correcting itself like that; the public decides what does and does not constitute a desirable product and the manufacturers respond. If there was a demand for BPA you might see it, but there clearly is much more of demand for BPA FREE and the market reflects that. And this all happened BEFORE the legislature stepped in to decide what was best for California.
The only reason the politicians would take the time to move such a bill is so they can boast about it during campaigns and payback special interests. Betsy Butler wants to return to Marina Del Rey and tell constituents that she is responsible for protecting the lives of children in California, but it is not her, it is the free market that accomplished this. The market dictated that manufacturers needed to provide a product the public wanted to buy, and that is exactly what happened.
The need simply does not exist. There are even numerous recent studies stating that that there is no link between BPA and harmful effects the supporters of this bill proclaimed. You only start to see these harmful side effects in the test subject animals when you load them up with so much BPA they are about to pop. You can see the actual evidence for this claim in the studies below:
- study finding “no clear evidence” of a link to diabetes risk from BPA exposure.
- study showing that the male offspring of pregnant mice exposed to high levels of BPA had no effects on the male offspring.
- study showing no risk to children exposed to house dust that contains BPA.
- CDC, EPA Clinical Exposure Study Finds BPA Exposure Unlikely to Cause Health Effects.
For more information on the effort to protect the free market and stop politicians from dictating the public’s conduct related to BPA go to www.handsoffplastics.com.