I've got to hand it to State Representative Julie Parrish (R-Tualatin/West Linn), when she decides to go for as many lame ass excuses as possible on why she won't support the BPA ban, she doesn't hold back.
Yesterday, the Oregon House Republicans released a video of Parrish (R-Tualatin/West Linn) giving a speech on the floor of the Oregon House (I'm not sending them traffic. It's on YouTube. Use the Google). Her point? The Oregon Legislature shouldn't vote to ban BPA because low-income folks can buy cheap products without the chemical if they hunt hard enough on the shelves. In other words, caveat emptor. If consumers happen to buy a BPA tainted product, that's their problem.
At the tail end of the video, she takes a swipe at The Oregon League of Conservation Voters support of the ban. Shorter Parrish: by golly, those eeeeevil enviros might make hay in their community by working to ban a toxic substance. No, no, we can't have that.
But wait, there's more! Constituents have been emailing Parrish at the Legislature, pleading for her to sign on to the ban. Not to be moved, Parrish twists herself up in knots in an onslaught of new and bizarre excuses to vote no.
(More after the jump)
Apparently we can't ban BPA because then it will make it harder for people to buy stuff at Goodwill or consignment stores. Or something.
Sent to Rep. Parrish:
From: Roberta Schwarz [EMAIL REDACTED]
Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 3:21 PM To: Rep Parrish Subject: Please add your signature to the discharge petiton for SB 695 )
Please sign the discharge petition for SB 695 so it can be brought to a vote on the House floor.
Roberta Schwarz [ADDRESS REDACTED]
From: Rep Parrish [mailto:[email protected]] Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 4:16 PM To: [EMAIL REDACTED] Subject: RE: Please add your signature to the discharge petiton for SB 695
Thanks for the email. I won't be signing the petition on this bill, not because I have any hard position one way or the other on BPA itself, but because I went to more than a dozen stores this weekend ranging from the Dollar Tree to Whole Foods, spent over $500 personally on baby products out of my own pocket (which I'll be donating to our local food pantries), and found not one baby bottle with BPA on any store shelf. I saw that quite a few products were being clearanced out (ones not required in the bill, but would likely be gone before this bill would take effect), and found that for as little as .97c at Fred Meyer, a parent could be a BPA-free baby bottle. For under $1.50, one can purchase a sippy cup with no BPA. I can even get a BPA-free baby bottle at 7-11.
The other elements of this bill don't need legislation either. In fact, this bill is being used as a fundraising vehicle, and I personally take issue with women and moms being pandered to in this manner. It's disheartening to see our children be used as a fundraising tactic. I personally witnessed an event where this bill was rah-rah'd as the environmental bill of the session, and then watched an ensuing paddle-raise for over $100K. On top of that, there were over 1000 people at the event at $125 a plate. You can imagine how profitable that was.
This past week, I got an email from an environmental group raising money for candidates and communications on this issue. For that reason and for the fact that the market has more than solved this problem (dozens of other BPA-free products that aren't even in the bill), I'll be a "no" vote.
As a mother with three young children, there will be no stronger voice for parents in Salem. But I will not see parents and children being used in this manner. If the Legislature really wanted to do something to help low-income women, then the appropriate place for legislation would be in the re-sell marketplace. Stores like Goodwill have no policy around selling used products and don't track whether they are BPA-free or not. In fact, Ifound an identical product to the BPA-free version I bought at Fred Meyer that was being sold at a Goodwill with BPA - likely someone had donated the older variety. I also found assorted plastic-ware, although the store said they don't put out used baby bottles and sippy cups as a rule. However, new in the package they do, and they don't discard the versions with BPA. So, if there's real work to be done, it's there. We've seen similar legislation at re-sell around carseats for example. One cannot purchase a used carseat in a resell or consignment shop any longer.
Roberta, sorry for the drawn out response to your question, but it's become both a complicated and contentious issue at the Capitol this past month, and I want to do my best to explain my decision.
If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact me again.
Another constituent asks Parrish to support the BPA ban:
From: [NAME REDACTED] Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 10:24 AM To: Rep Parrish Subject: BPA
BPA is a toxic chemical that causes cancer and should not be in the toys, bottles and can liners of food that we give our babies. Please revive SB 695 and help it pass.
Let's not let Coca Cola's interests supercede those of Oregon's youngest.
[NAME REDACTED] West Linn
The response from Parrish would be hysterical if it wasn't so tragic:
Subject:RE: BPA Date:Tue, 24 May 2011 13:35:28 -0700 From:Rep Parrish firstname.lastname@example.org To:[NAME REDACTED]
Thank you very much for your email. As a mother, the bill interests me, but please know, Coca Cola has no dog in this fight, and if bloggers want to engage voters with lawmakers in a red herring conversation, throwing up bogus reasons why this bill isn't moving, my hope is that Oregonians will do precisely what you're doing, and ask the questions.
Frankly, I'm dismayed by this bill in some ways because as a mother, I feel the bill panders to my inner instincts about keeping my kids safe.
Let me explain:
Currently, the private market has removed almost every trace of BPA out of baby and children's products and the products are clearly marked by the manufacturers as such. There are laws that govern advertising for those who make false claims, so we're protected that way, and mothers have a huge array of choices. Fred Meyer even declared this month that they won't sell products with BPA and they didn't need a law to come to that free market decision.
The WIC office already has the right through public procurements to pick BPA-free baby formula - theydon't actually need a law, they have just chosen to not write their bids accordingly up until now. So, if I specify in my bid requirements that formula be BPA-free, then manufacturers need to respond appropriately and from there, I would choose low-cost bid. So this has ALWAYS been an option for them.
The bill puts in language for a private source to do BPA-free certification. We have groups like this inthe Organic market like Oregon Tilth and Food Alliance, and it didn't take a law to get it done.
My real concern is that some of the same proponents of this bill, under the guise of wanting to protect our children from chemicals, supported a bill that would limit our rights as women to access mid-wives, make it harder to access adoption from both ends of the process, and even take away our rights to bike our children in bike trailers.
So, I ask that you look at this bill in the context of everything else that's happening here in Salem, and remember, if you have questions about where things are in the process, please feel free to write me for updates. They always say if you want to know things, go straight to the source. I wouldn't rely on bloggers as a sole source of information, and I'm always happy to share my thoughts with my neighbors!
By all means Julie, let's not rely on bad information. Let's go to the Coca Cola source on BPA, the company themselves. This would be the part where you get to read FROM Coca Cola how they uses BPA in their soda cans. Damn bloggers and their links.
And yes of course, let's not vote to ban a toxin because in doing so we'd interfere with midwives and people driving their kids around on bicycles. Or something.
Incidentally, "as a mother" (yup..I'm a mom too, Julie), it's completely irresponsible not to ban this substance, not just from children's products but from all consumer goods. The "as a mother" thing is the most lame excuse of all. Being a mother doesn't exempt us from doing the right thing and doesn't soften the stupid of this. Just so we're all clear.
It would be oh refreshing if Parrish would just be honest about this: she's not supporting it because she's afraid to get crosswise with her leadership. Y'know...that leader who is a Coca Cola guy.
By Carla Axtman
June 01, 2011
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