Chemical industry rejects ‘lies’ allegation over BPA bill defeat

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Chemical industry, Bpa

Chemical industry rejects ‘lies’ allegation over BPA bill defeat
Chemical industry representatives have vigorously denied allegations that it used dirty tricks to convince Californian lawmakers not to pass a bill to ban bisphenol A (BPA).

In a statement released in the wake of the decision, Senator Pavley, who sponsored bill SB 797, said: “The chemical industry successfully used misinformation and fear tactics to kill my bill. Unfortunately, some California lawmakers were unable to see through a web of lies fuelled by greed and therefore put our children in harms way.”

Charges false

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) told FoodProductionDaily.com it had only provided facts about the “extensive scientific data for BPA and the many reviews of that data by government agencies around the world”.

“We respect Sen Pavley’s passion and her strong commitment to her personal position on these issues,”​ an ACC spokesman added.

“But we categorically reject her characterization. It is simply untrue and does not serve anyone well to make such false and inflammatory charges.”

The bill sought to ban BPA for inclusion in food packaging, particularly baby bottles and sippy cups, aimed at children less than three years of age, in the state from 2011 onwards.

The State Assembly had already passed an amendment to SB 797 that would have seen the issue scrutinised by the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) under the Green Chemistry programme prior to its implementation. The state body had the option to declare BPA use in food packaging safe and therefore over-rule the ban.

Lobbying message

The ACC said it had based its lobbying message on the premise that the appropriate regulatory response to the BPA issue should come from scientist rather than politicians. It raised concerns that the DTSC would not have time to review the BPA issue properly as current law obliged it to establish the entire Green Chemistry regulations during the same period.

The body said it also cited the decision by the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment panel not to add BPA to a list of toxic substances known as the Proposition 65 List

The industry body said it had quoted a list of the regulatory bodies around the world, including the European Food Safety Authority, as well as bodies in the UK and Australasia, that the substance did not pose a health risk.

Senator Pavley said she intends to bring the bill back to the assembly in the future because she is convinced the bulk of scientific research linking BPA to a number of medical conditions is compelling.

Science

Speaking of the failure of the bill to pass into law in California, the ACC said: “The decision demonstrates that lawmakers would prefer that decisions on chemicals be made by the regulators and experts with the scientific expertise to evaluate those products. We will continue to work transparently with policy makers to provide accurate scientific information and communicate with the public about the safety of BPA.”

BPA is a chemical widely used in polycarbonate plastic baby bottles, sippy cups and the linings of some food cans. Concern among consumers and politicians over the continued use of the chemical centre on studies that show it leaches from packaging into foodstuffs – particularly after the container has been heated.

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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