Can We Bottle All That Phony Hysteria?

dog_snarling

As California prepares to turn loose tens of thousands of prisoners, extreme factions of the Legislature and activist groups are getting all lathered up about – get this – the supposed hazards of shatter-proof baby bottles (which incidentally have likely saved countless lives by preventing young children from choking to death).

As David Letterman would say: “I’m not making this up.”

Activist groups today are planning to adorn the State Capitol grounds with a 15-foot baby bottle as a PR stunt to push for Senate Bill 797 (Pavley), which would create the Toxin-Free Infants & Toddlers Act.

[Full Disclosure: The Blue Dog is working with opponents to kill this ridiculous bill]

In essence, SB 797 would ban a chemical known as Bisphenol-A (BPA) from baby bottles and other drinking containers used by children three and under. This would be a necessary and commendable goal if there were any serious science underlying the concern. Trouble is, even the state agency lauded by the environmentalists, doesn’t even see any reason for concern.

A scientific advisory board of The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) recently determined that BPA doesn’t even belong on the state’s Prop. 65 list of known carcinogens. Even wine and beer are on this list – but not BPA. Specifically, July 15 OEHHA’s Development and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee (DARTIC) unanimously voted NOT TO ADD BPA to the Proposition 65 list.

The Committee – consisting of experts from several California universities spanning a wide range of relevant scientific disciplines – serves as the “State’s Qualified Experts” for determining whether a chemical has been clearly shown, through scientifically valid testing according to generally accepted principles, to cause reproductive or developmental toxicity. If the state’s scientific experts do not believe products containing BPA deserve even a warning label, how is an outright ban warranted?

And the irony here gets quite tasty. Last month some of the proponents of SB 797 lobbied against the agency’s possible elimination, touting OEHHA as leaders in protecting public health through independent scientific research. They sent out press releases and wrote opinion pieces going to bat for the agency.

Now, when science-based policy doesn’t support activist driven policy, OEHHA’s science advisory board becomes the focus. Activists are now pouting that the “committee is made up of political appointees who do not necessarily have the research and science background best-suited to interpret cutting-edge science, as evidenced by this decision.”

So let’s get this straight: last month OEHHA worth saving from the budget ax, but this month the agency is being advised by political appointees who don’t have the expertise to make these decisions? Please, give us all a break.

The SB 797 special interests have also got to be annoyed with our northern neighbors and friends across the pond. After all, the U.S. activists love to fawn all over the EU and Canada when it comes to their chemical policies. So the following facts must also be hard for them to swallow:

  • Just last month, Health Canada released studies of BPA in infant formula and baby food containers and concluded “Based on the overall weight of evidence, as described in the Health Risk Assessment of BPA from food packaging applications, the results of this survey further confirms Health Canada’s previous assessment conclusion that the current dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging uses is not expected to pose a health risk to the consumer
  • Regulatory agencies in the EU, Japan, United Kingdom and Australia/New Zealand have looked at BPA as used in these applications and have not issued any restrictions.  Do we assume that those regulatory agencies are made up of unqualified political appointees too?
  • Finally, SB 797 flies in the face of the Green Chemistry initiative – the Governor and Legislature’s landmark measure to take chemical policy out of the hands of Legislators and into the hands of state scientists.

Why is a bill like this even circulating?

Pavely is a teacher and land use expert. Most, if not all of her colleagues have no serious scientific credentials. I don’t believe there is a toxicologist among them. Yeah, tree-tall baby bottles may make for snappy PR events and great TV news, but if you look inside this big bottle all you will see is special interest scare tactics and specious science.

Meanwhile, how about those freed inmates?

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under California Legislature, Environment

2 responses to “Can We Bottle All That Phony Hysteria?

  1. Anonymous

    “BPA is present in baby products, including baby bottles and some infant formula. A number of studies in laboratory animals have raised concerns about potential health effects during fetal development and among nursing or formula-fed children who may be exposed to BPA. These effects include but are not limited to: changes in the infant’s developing nervous system, such as thyroid function and brain growth; changes in behavioral development, such as hyperactivity; and changes in the normal development of the prostate gland.” -Breau of Environmental Health

    Congratulations for doing a fantastic job confusing the public and helping to poision infants. Oh, and increasing the rate of breast cancer and resistance to treatment. You’ve accomplished a lot with that article. Kudos.

    FROM BLUE DOG: Thanks for your comment and engaging in this discussion. My view is that it is the scare mongers who are confusing the public. Mere detection does not equal harm. Neither do a few questionable studies that don’t offset the larger body of world science. On a personal note, when I first started working on this issue, my son was an infant drinking from a bottle. I looked at this issue deeply and with concern as any parent would. After doing so, I determined there was no danger. My son is fine by the way and exhibits no signs of being poisoned.

  2. Anonymous

    After reading the science did you still allow your son to drink from BPA bottles? It is completely your choice to do so, however, while you had the knowledge and time to research and make a decision many parents do not have the faintest idea that this is a problem. As a result, this issue disproportionately affects minority and low income children.

    The research does not suggest that your child will exhibit immediate signs of being poisoned (I was being quite dramatic), however, he could be at a greater risk for prostate cancer later on in life. I feel all children should be protected especially since there are safe, affordable alternative products. I see no reason to fight to keep synthetic hormones in baby bottles.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s