The chemical and pharmaceutical lobbyists are at it again, and this time, the California bill that would ban the synthetic hormone bisphenol A, or BPA, from baby bottles and infant food containers hangs in the balance. Investigative journalist Christina Jewett explains in a story in today's California Watch (excerpted below) how lobbyists have been working overtime to kill the bill, which will likely be voted on by the state Assembly next week.
These lobbyists think they'll be successful at scaring legislators into believing babies will go hungry if the bill passes. Luckily, California WIC, one of the largest distributers of baby formula in the state, is calling their bluff, and so can you. Please share this article with your networks and help us send a message that industry shenanigans shouldn't get in the way of children's health.
As leaks go, this one was scandalous.
A year ago, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Washington Post wrote about the minutes of a strategy session among grocery and chemical industry lobbyists. They were brainstorming about how to defeat laws that would ban the chemical bisphenol A in Connecticut and California.
The group doubted it could convince a scientist to serve as its spokesperson, the minutes say, a nod to mounting evidence that the chemical may result in birth defects and disrupts hormones in children.
So they would resort to "fear tactics," emphasizing the harm a chemical ban might have on the poor and minorities. A pregnant mother would be the "Holy Grail" spokesperson, according to the summary of the gathering at the Cosmos Club, a tony Washington, D.C., social club.
The plan backfired in Connecticut.
The state’s attorney general read about the meeting and blasted the campaign for "confusion and concealment.' Connecticut lawmakers had just passed a bisphenol A ban for baby bottles and formula cans.
In California, though, the plan seems to have worked like a charm.
Chemical industry lobbyists bought a full-page newspaper ad depicting an empty shopping cart in a desert, suggesting the chemical ban might leave grocery shelves bare. And a trade group representing America’s leading baby formula makers have warned lawmakers that the ban might impact women who rely on a state program for baby formula, a claim that program’s leaders refute.
The efforts center around Senate Bill 797, a law that died in the Assembly last year but is expected to come up for a vote next week. It would ban the chemical bisphenol A, known as "BPA," from baby bottles, sippy cups and the linings of liquid and powder baby formula containers.
The proposed ban comes in response to research showing the chemical can damage a baby’s developing brain, as well as the FDA's call for more research because it has “some concern” about the chemical. Supporters of the ban include the Breast Cancer Fund, SEIU, California Nurses Association and Physicians for Social Responsibility. (Read the complete article.)