State's ban of chemical BPA in plastics is deemed a success

Washington state’s 2010 ban on the use of the chemical BPA in baby bottles, children’s cups and sports bottles appears to be working. The Department of Ecology recently tested a number of these products on retail shelves in Washington and found that BPA has nearly disappeared.

BPA, which stands for Bisphenol A, is a health concern for children.

During July 2012, Ecology tested 74 products purchased from nine state retailers. Products included baby bottles, sippy cups, toddler containers (bowls and plates), and plastic and metal sports bottles.  Nearly all the products collected were labeled “BPA-free.” Most of samples (96 percent) tested did not contain BPA levels above the testing limit used in this study.

Only one sample turned up with a high enough BPA level for Ecology to take regulatory action. Ecology is enforcing the BPA law at the same level that the agency requires for reporting under the Children’s Safe Product Act (20 ppm).

The sample was a polycarbonate sports bottle sold at a discount store. It contained a BPA level of 100 ppm. It was not marketed as BPA-free, and it was the only bottle of its kind left on the store shelf. The two other bottles containing detectable BPA were well below Ecology’s enforcement limit.

“Given the small percentage of products that tested positive for BPA, we believe businesses are making great progress in complying with the ban, which is helping to reduce children’s exposure to this chemical,” said Carol Kraege, Ecology’s toxics policy specialist.

BPA is a chemical building block that is used primarily to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. Along with water bottles and baby bottles, polycarbonate plastic is also used to make products such as compact disks and eyeglass lenses. Many food and drink cans are lined with epoxy resins that contain BPA.

In 2008, the National Toxicology Program (a group associated with the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Food and Drug Administration) concluded that, at current exposure levels, there was some concern for toxicity of BPA in fetuses, infants and children.


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