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Bill to Ban BPA Introduced

From the Outdoor Industry Association's WebNews:

Building on concerns raised over the use of bisphenol-A (BPA), Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) has introduced legislation that would ban the use of bisphenol-A in all food and beverage containers. BPA, a chemical used to harden plastics and prevent corrosion in metal cans, "is associated with a broad spectrum of hazardous effects" and "has been shown to leach out of the containers into liquids and foods," according to a press release from Rep. Markey's office.

The proposed legislation, The Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2008, seeks to completely eliminate the use of BPA in all food and beverage containers introduced or delivered for introduction into interstate commerce on or after the date that is 180 days after the bill is enacted. Legislation to ban BPA in children's products as well as food containers is currently pending in the Senate. Its supporters are working to add it to the final version of a larger consumer product safety reform bill currently under consideration in Congress.

Health Canada answers FAQ's about BPA:

And here's the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's take on the chemical:


Like many other people, I do not have the expertise to investigate new products and decide whether or not they are safe. I assume that someone else is doing that before it goes on the market. Isn't that how it works?
Then how is it, that time and time again, after a product has been on the market and used/consumed by the masses, do we hear of studies linking it to health problems?
Then they take credit for being the first to warn the public! And almost brag about how thorough and exhaustive their research is.
I realize that I am over simplifying to some degree, and maybe being a little cynical, but something seems backwards to me.
Nothing personal against those who do the research, I appreciate their education and hard work. But maybe things get rushed to market.
I read both the articles that the links took me to, I did not see anything definitive one way or the other, except heating the bottles being the biggest factor in the release of BPA.
I guess the best thing to do is err on the side of caution. I wonder if all these bottles can be recycled and the BPA extracted?

One word: H-Y-P-E

The big problem, to partially answer trouthunter's question, is that the risks are in almost all cases unknown, despite huge efforts to determine them beforehand, until products have been in the field for a long time. In many cases, the risks may only affect a small number of people who may have particular genetic make-up. For example, millions (probably billions) of people use NSAIDS for pain relief (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxin, others), and have done so for hundreds of years (aspirin was originally derived from willow bark, which had been used as a folk remedy for possibly thousands of years). A few people take massive amounts intentionally or accidentally and die. A few people, like my spouse, are allergic to NSAIDS (we discovered this by accident, when after years of occasional use of aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxin, our son discovered her semi-conscious. when we got her to the ER, her blood pressure was 60/30. She spent 6 days in intensive care before she recovered). Should all NSAIDS be withdrawn from the market?

Some negative consequences are like the "butterfly" phenomenon (the tiny disturbance of a butterfly flapping its wings can, in principle, propagate and intensify, resulting ultimately in a hurricane). How do you foresee which butterfly will cause a hurricane?

We ingest lots of toxins every day in our food, water, and the air we breathe. The body (for the vast majority of people) tolerates and rejects these toxins just fine. But above a certain amount, a given toxin can be deadly, produce cancer, promote heart problems, or a number of other negative consequences. As an example, fat-soluble vitamins are vital to health. But in too large a quantity (how large is that?), they can be fatal.

When I was growing up (yeah, I know, I am still not grown up), we were told that since the body does not generate its own vitamin D and exposure to sunlight does trigger the generation of D, we should get healthy tans. At this point in my life, I am visiting the dermatologist every few months to get pre-cancerous lesions removed (and recently a squamous cell and a basal cell, both malignant). So, should we ban sunlight? How much sunlight triggers skin cancers?

A few centuries ago, women were told to ingest a certain amount of arsenic daily, because it gave a pale complexion, which was a sign of the upper class, who did not have to get out in the sun to work. We know that arsenic is a poison, of course.

A serious problem a few decades ago was children, especially babies, being seriously burned when their nightclothes came close to flames. So it was viewed as a huge benefit that children's night clothes were coated with fire retardant and fireproofing. It was in fact demanded and mandated by law. Then after a number of years of this practice, it was discovered that the chemicals were toxic and caused developmental problems. So now the retardants are banned.

DDT was hailed as a miracle product that virtually eliminated malaria and yellow fever (mosquito-borne diseases) in many countries and in large parts of the US. Yet it had the side effect of thinning the shells of eggs of a number of raptors, something which did not show up until after some 40-50 years of use.

Right now, there is a huge battle going on over developmental medical treatments that promise to treat fatal illnesses. At what point in the testing should they be made available for patients who have these 100% fatal diseases?

The point is - when a product is being developed, some of the risks are immediately apparent, but many (most) are not until the product is in the field being used by millions of people. Life is a risk (to be only slightly facetious, being born is the major cause of death). You always are trading the risks for the rewards. Only the risks frequently do not show up until long after the rewards become apparent.

Yes....I know you are right Bill S. Those who develop products can not know everything ahead of time, and there is no way to eliminate risk from our lives.
I was just venting a little, but they will have to pry my old nalgene (HDPE) bottles from my cold dead hands. HA-HA
My wife says no more new camping stuff
till she gets that new fridge!

Bill S - THANK YOU! for your commonsense views to the current broo-ha-ha. Such a welcome relief I can tell you! I, like many, am concerned about what I injest, consume, clean and submerge myself in however, as you so aptly explained, we come into contact with toxins, known or otherwise, common or not, daily. For the most part, our bodies do their thing. On occasion, it doesn't or it reaches its coping point. Thats life. Only responsible and concious choices can assist with our bodies natural processes and being in better 'touch' with how are bodies work in the first place. Society goes through phases proclaiming the benefits of this and that as often as a person blinks...funnily enough, so many of those technological advances are now revealed to pale in comparison to many of the traditional or 'old skool' mehtods or materials. Gradma was right! I work in the outdoor industry and am astounded on a regular basis how many customers I encounter which clearly fail to engage their brain, take accountability for misuse (such as putting lexan water bottles in the dishwasher, exposing them to high heat) or general lack of care, expecting that someone else is responsible or will do the thinking for them. They're far too willing to accept the opinions of others without putting everything into context. It would drive me nuts if I wasn't inclined to leave them all to their high drama.

Keep on truckin' Bill S :)

There was a recent note about drinking from bottled water bottles. Seems that wrapping your lips around the top to drink the water has a side effect that is commonly seen in smokers (no, not the various cancers). It has been noticed for decades that habitual smokers develop a particular pattern of wrinkles around the mouth. Well, it turns out that this same wrinkle pattern is showing up among people who drink lots of bottled water. So see, we here in the SFBay Area are way ahead of the rest of the country in promoting good looks, er, I mean, health. San Francisco, Oakland, Beserkeley and some other towns have banned bottled water in city government buildings.

Can't do anything without side effects ....

That would be the "law of unintended consequences" wouldn't it Bill S. ? Think about all those straws too!
I take it the typo was on purpose?

What typo? Everyone here knows the real name of the town is Beserkeley, or more properly the "People's Republic of Beserkeley". We here in the "People's Republic of Palo Alto" are far superior to Beserkeley, having declared our town an Official Liberal City before they did (actual declaration from the City Council). You can tell, too. Both cities have ordinances forbidding homeless people from being on the streets.

Bill S.....I hear you.

Hi Circus3, I liked what you said about the old ways, "old skool", we may come to find out that the Native Americans were actually way ahead of us in terms of sustainability and green living. Not withstanding the wonderful advances we have had in medicine and so forth. I would not want to endure the hardships of those times, but I think we will find ourselves thinking more in those terms. Especially if the cost of food keeps rising. I already have a big garden and it helps. If only my truck could run on okra!

I live in NJ. I doubt that my nalgene bottles are going to be what kills me.


Bill, well argued. There are numerous "slippery slopes" in reasoning for a ban on so many consumer products. The government intervening in the case seems silly. I don't mean to sound callus but, people have a personal responsibility to keep themselves well. If they are unable, that is to their detriment. Individuals obviously cannot know everything and manufacturers should have the ethic the inform the public as soon as they know that there could be problems with their products. Government intervention should be the exception, not the rule for sure.

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