Minnesota Sets First Statewide Bisphenol A Ban

Minnesota Sets First Statewide Bisphenol A Ban

Minnesota has approved the first statewide ban of products that contain bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in some hard plastics, infant formula containers, metal can liners and numerous other products.

The BPA bill, signed by Governor Tim Pawlenty last week, bans the sale of baby bottles, sippy cups and any other food container that contains BPA and is intended for use by kids age 3 and under.

Manufacturers of the products won't be able to sell them in the state starting Jan. 1, 2010, and the ban extendes to retailers on Jan. 1, 2011.

Although it's the first state to enact such a ban, Minnesota could have company soon as California, Connecticut, New York and other states discuss their own BPA bans. Last month, Suffolk County in New York passed the first U.S. county- or city-based BPA ban.

The main concern over BPA, an endocrine disruptor that mimics estrogen, is the effects it could have on small children and infants. BPA can leach from plastics and other containers, especially when heated. When kids are exposed to it, they absorb it in much concentrated doses and eliminate it slower than adults. Laboratory tests on animals have linked exposure to BPA to developmental and reproductive issues.

Many retailers and manufacturers have already eliminated BPA from their products or started offering BPA-free alternatives. While the Food and Drug Administration has said that current levels of exposure to BPA are not a concern, that contradicts reports from the U.S. government's National Toxicology Program.

Enough concern over the possible effects of BPA have led companies including Toys R Us, Nalgene, Gerber and Playtex to eliminate BPA products, either due to concerns about future legislation, or because of pressure from customers.

See past coverage on BPA from GreenBiz.com here.

Baby bottle - CC license by Micah Sittig