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Together, we’ll move the marketplace away from BPA.


Video Transcript:

Gary Stryker: Rupal Pujaara’s daughter only drinks out of baby bottles free of the chemical Bisphenol A, also known as BPA.

Rupal Pujaara: When I heard about the endocrine system and the nervous system and the brain development, that was—that was really concerning to me.

Gary Stryker: The same goes for the sippy cups Heidi Parsont buys.

Heidi Parsont: They’re about nine or ten dollars a bottle, which just seems like an exorbitant sum. On the other hand, it’s not an exorbitant sum if they’re not ingesting any more chemicals.

Gary Stryker: The Centers for Disease Control says 93 percent of us have BPA in our bodies. From the linings of food and soda cans, to eyeglasses, water bottles, and dental sealants, billions of pounds of this petroleum-based chemical are used to strengthen plastics. BPA mimics and can interfere with the hormone estrogen. Studies show even small amounts can alter the reproductive, neurological, and immune systems.

Erika Schreder: Bisphenol A, that, research was showing more and more that it could lead to diabetes, obesity, early puberty, cancer—a whole range of problems.

Gary Stryker: Erika Schreder of the Washington Toxics Coalition says BPA is also in our wallets.

Erika Schreder: What we found is that money is indeed contaminated with BPA likely because of the presence of BPA in receipts. Half of the thermal papers do contain BPA and what’s really concerning is that it’s in very large concentrations.

Gary Stryker: Canada now lists BPA as a toxic substance. The European Union, and at least seven states have restricted its use. But the federal government has not taken any regulatory action. The Environmental Protection Agency has listed BPA as a chemical of concern and the Food and Drug Administration says there’s some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland of fetuses, infants, and children.

Andy Igrejas: The public basically wants safer materials. They don’t like that someone isn’t minding the store.

Gary Stryker: Andy Igrejas is director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families.

Andy Igrejas: If we can’t get Washington to address this problem in some way that really benefits public health and also benefits the business environment, we’ll see more private efforts in the marketplace—I think we’ll see more companies start to adopt their own chemical policies. We’re trying to weed out the known banned chemicals, and trying to find out whatever they can find out about the other chemicals that are out there.

Gary Stryker: Industry groups like the American Chemistry Council say BPA has been safely used for decades and can liners and food-storage containers made with BPA are essential components to helping protect the safety of packaged foods and preserving products from spoilage and contamination. But Heidi Parsont doesn’t want to take any chances.

Heidi Parsont: I think that consumer awareness, though is picked up and as a country we move in the right direction towards fewer chemicals.

Gary Stryker: Concerned families, some retailers and interest groups are working to overhaul outdated U.S. chemicals policy so that health and safety information is publicly available. Federal regulation of about 80,000 chemicals has not been updated in nearly 35 years. For This American Land, I’m Gary Stryker.