BPA Ban fails in Oregon Senate
The Oregon Senate failure to pass the BPA ban today is a wake up call. As Jon Isaacs wrote on the OLCV blog, Feb 15th in anticipation of the passing of Senate Bill 1032: “I don’t think it’s possible for a public health issue to be any less controversial and straightforward to Oregonians than keeping toxic chemicals out of food containers intended for babies.” The Oregon Environmental Council chronicled a whole list of scientific information regarding the harm to children in supporting the ban, including:
- Premature babies are exposed to levels of BPA ten times greater than the general population
- BPA exposure is linked to heart disease, diabetes and liver abnormalities in humans
- The Centers for Disease Control found BPA exposure in 93% of Americans age 6 and up during a test in 2007.
What this tells me is you can’t take anything for granted, not common sense, not clear and compelling health outcomes, not the fact that Washington, Wisconsin, California, and Minnesota already had pushed ahead; and not that the federal government has indicated it will enact this as well.
When it comes to curtailing toxins in our environment, the air we breathe and the products we use, citizens must continue to apply the necessary pressure through letters to our public representatives and newspapers, and through public engagement in the regulatory process.
A few weeks ago, I received an update from the Department of Environmental Quality regarding its Portland Air Toxic Solutions Advisory Committee. I am one of over 30 professionals and private citizens sitting on this committee to devise the plan to reduce the dangerous air toxins identified in the Portland air shed. This is not easy, as we found after the first meeting last August. Even agreeing on the ground rules is contentious when you have competing interests at the table. But being at the table is critical, and not taking anything for granted is essential, to seeing real and measurable improvements to our policy of regulating and reducing air toxics.
Despite the tremendous strides on this issue this past year and the growing national momentum behind curbing the health endangering chemicals and toxic substances in our environment, the failure of the BPA ban in the Oregon legislature reminds me of the uphill battle citizens face to push back the tide on the proliferation of chemicals in our midst. We must continue to speak out about our concerns.