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Controversies in Science and TechnologyFrom Sustainability to Surveillance$
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Daniel Lee Kleinman, Karen A. Cloud-Hansen, and Jo Handelsman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199383771

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199383771.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 29 January 2022

Politics in a Bottle: BPA, Children’s Health, and the Fight for Toxics Reform

Politics in a Bottle: BPA, Children’s Health, and the Fight for Toxics Reform

(p.183) Chapter 13 Politics in a Bottle: BPA, Children’s Health, and the Fight for Toxics Reform
Controversies in Science and Technology

Jody A. Roberts

Oxford University Press

The nationwide legal uprising against the chemical bisphenol A (more popularly known as BPA) began in Minnesota in 2009 when the state legislature there voted to ban the substance from children’s products—including sippy cups and baby bottles. Grassroots activism aimed at insti­tuting local and state-level legislation banning BPA in children’s products has since escalated as new players in the world of toxics activism have emerged with demands to remove the controversial chemical from products designed for use by children. Frustrated with inaction at the federal level following scores of health studies, a slew of ambiguous regulatory reviews, and staunch efforts by lobby organizations, these new groups have taken their fight about BPA and health to states, counties, cities, and local municipalities. As of this writing, eleven U.S. states now have legislation banning or restricting the use of BPA in products for kids. These actions in the United States followed actions taken by Canada to first identify BPA as a minimal health hazard to children (in 2008) and then to later officially recognized BPA as toxic (in 2010), a declaration that requires government action. Indeed, all of this action at the state level is having the intended effect: The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in July of 2012 that BPA could no longer be used in baby bottles and children’s drinking cups. But that pronouncement has done little to quell the debate. As the president of the National Research Center for Women and Families noted about the July 2012 decision: “[The FDA is] instituting a ban that is already in effect voluntarily.” The sentiment is congruent with the statements made by the American Chemistry Council (the nation’s largest lobby group for the chemical industry) following the announcement. According to the statement, the American Chemistry Council requested that the FDA take action because of the patchwork of legislation taking shape at the state level and that had already encouraged most manufacturers to simply stop using BPA in these products (Tavernise 2012).

Keywords:   cost-benefit, dosage, expertise, fetus, governance, legislation, news media, obesity, pesticides, reproductive system

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