Should California ban BPA?

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An emotionally charged battle is expected to come to a head today (Wednesday) when the California Assembly votes on banning the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles, sippy cups and containers of infant formula and baby food.

The chemical, which has been linked to cancers, infertility, early puberty and neurological disorders, is one of the most widely used in the world. The California vote is being closely watched around the nation: Several states and cities, including Connecticut, Minnesota and Chicago, have enacted BPA curbs, and federal restrictions are under consideration.

Chemical companies, infant formula makers, pharmaceutical firms, grocery chains and can manufacturers have mounted a ferocious lobbying campaign to defeat the bill in Sacramento. A BPA ban passed the California Senate in June but the Assembly vote is expected to be close, with half a dozen Los Angeles Democrats as swing votes.

Public health groups, including the Breast Cancer Fund, Planned Parenthood, several Red Cross chapters, and Physicians for Social Responsibility have been joined this year by the California Labor Federation and the California Teachers Assn. in pushing for the bill.


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-- Margot Roosevelt