Olympia, WA—Today, Governor Gregoire signed the Safe Baby Bottle Act into law. The new legislation reinforces the state’s status as a national leader in protecting children’s health from toxic chemicals. Washington is now only the second state to ban bisphenol A (BPA) in sports bottles and the fifth to take action on the chemical in children’s dishware.
“This great Safe Baby Bottle Act is showing once again that no state does more than Washington to protect children against toxic products,” said Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-Seattle), one of the prime sponsors of the legislation. “Our leadership against toxic threats to kids should be a source of pride and peace of mind to every parent and grandparent in the state.”
“BPA is bad news. Governor Gregoire has taken a great step today toward protecting children from this known bad actor chemical.” said Ivy Sager-Rosenthal, campaign director at the Washington Toxics Coalition. “This new law gives children safer dishware and is a big victory for children’s health.”
The legislation eliminates BPA from baby bottles, sippy cups, and other food and beverage containers intended for children 3 years of age and under beginning July 2011. It also bans BPA in sports bottles beginning July 2012.
“I’m very pleased that Washington state is once again a leader in taking action to limit potentially harmful chemical exposures, especially for infants and young children,” said Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Kent) a prime sponsor of the legislation.
The bill was one of three priorities for the Environmental Priorities Coalition. The bill’s supporters, including environmentalists, doctors, nurses, children’s advocates, and environmental health organizations, cheered the Governor’s action.
“We are pleased that the Legislature, in a bipartisan fashion, sees the importance of reducing these very toxic chemicals and protecting our children,” said Clifford Traisman, State Lobbyist for Washington Conservation Voters and Washington Environmental Council.
“Chemicals like BPA have no place in consumer products, especially those used by children, and we commend the Washington State Legislature for moving this legislation,” said Cherie Eicholz, executive director of Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. “Passage of this bill signifies a step in the right direction of guaranteeing all of Washington’s children have an opportunity to mature in the healthiest environment possible.”
“This is a significant victory for women and families in Washington, who shouldn’t be burdened with trying to figure out which child food containers and sports bottles are safe,” said Elaine Rose, CEO, Planned Parenthood VOTES! Washington. “This overdue law will ensure healthier pregnancies and healthier children.”
The new law follows closely on the heels of other state laws enacted in the last year. Maryland and Wisconsin passed bans earlier this year and Minnesota and Connecticut passed bans in 2009. Several other states, including California, Vermont, New York, and Illinois have similar bans pending. Oregon’s legislature defeated a similar bill last month.
While advocates were pleased with the phase-out, they also noted they look forward to the day when chemicals would be determined safe before being allowed in consumer products.
“BPA is a great example of the failure of the nation’s chemical laws. The chemical industry should test chemicals for safety before they are approved for use in products we use every day, instead of waiting until after children have been exposed to determine whether a chemical is harmful to health or the environment,” said Sager-Rosenthal.
U.S. Senator Frank Lautenburg (D-VT) and Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL) are expected to introduce legislation soon to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the nation’s chemical law. TSCA hasn’t been updated since 1976.
The Washington Toxics Coalition is a statewide non-profit advocacy group that works to eliminate sources of toxic chemicals. For more information on the web at www.watoxics.org; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/watoxics; and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WA_Toxics.
The Environmental Priorities Coalition is a network of 25 leading environmental groups in Washington that influence policy at the state level. Each year, the Coalition selects several priority issues that receive the collective support of this network during the legislative session.