This week Chicago became the first city in the nation to ban bisphenol-A (BPA) in baby bottles and sippy cups. BPA is a chemical commonly used in plastic water bottles and food containers to make the container clear and shatter-resistant.
Following the lead of one county (Suffolk County, NY) and one state (Minnesota), Chicago is now the third jurisdiction in the US to ban BPA in baby cups. We may see more laws emerge this season because similar bans are pending in Congress and a dozen state legislatures. Canada is the only country to ban importation of baby bottles containing BPA.
It is unclear whether BPA poses a health risk and both sides of the debate tout scientific studies to bolster their position.
On the one hand, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved use of BPA in consumer products which contact food. Echoing this sentiment, the Chemistry Council said
This new Chicago law is contrary to the global consensus on the safety of BPA and ignores the expert evaluations of scientists and government bodies from around the world. These particular restrictions on the sale of baby bottles and sippy cups, intended for use by children under the age of three and which contains bisphenol A (BPA), are unwarranted.
The movement to ban BPA is led by several nonprofit and advocacy groups. According to the Environment News Service, in the past 12 years, over 100 studies have reportedly concluded that BPA is dangerous to animals and that a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 95% of Americans tested had BPA at levels equivalent to those found to cause abnormalities in animals.