House and Senate leaders introduced legislation yesterday that would establish a federal ban on bisphenol A (or BPA, a toxic chemical linked to heart disease and diabetes) in all food and beverage containers.
This move came just one day after Sunoco, a gas and chemical company, announced that it is now refusing to sell BPA-containing containers meant to store food and liquids for children younger than 3. The company told investors that it cannot be certain of the chemical compound’s safety. Playtex, Gerber and four other baby-bottle manufacturers have also announced that they will stop using BPA in bottles.
The quest to ban BPA is nothing new. San Francisco lawmakers proposed barring the product in children’s producs in 2006, and while they eventually backed down, their efforts have inspired similar proposals in California, Hawaii, Washington and Oregon. Canada banned BPA nationwide in October.
But we hear mixed messages about dangerous chemicals all the time. Sometimes, one group of scientists will tell us that something we’ve been eating/drinking/standing near will kill us, while another group encourages further exposure! Remember all of the drama surrounding the cholesterol in our eggs? And don’t even get me started on this pro-corn-syrup campaign. Suffice it to say, I think it’s misleading.
So what is it about BPA that we know makes it so harmful? Last year, I interviewed Duke University scientist Dana Dolinoy about her research on the chemical and its effects. Click the image above (or here) to watch an audio slide show I created showing what her team has found so far.