Senate votes to keep toxic additive in baby bottles.

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

In a tie vote, 15-15, the State Senate voted down SB 1032 - the bill to prohibit the use of Bisphenol-A (BPA) from baby bottles, toddler sippy cups, and containers for baby food.

Why did opponents vote against the bill?

Apparently, because they're concerned with something that's not in the bill at all. From the Oregonian's Scott Learn:

They also worried that the ban would be a first step toward banning BPA from the lining of canned products, which they said would hurt Oregon food processors because there aren't adequate alternatives.

"Nobody wants to vote against nursing moms and mothers," said Sen. Jason Atkinson, R - Central Point, who said he believes BPA is "bad." But supporters of a ban "want to go into Oregon's food processing industries," Atkinson said.

Ponder that for a moment. Atkinson is saying that his opposition to THIS bill is because he's opposed to what MIGHT be in the NEXT bill.

How bizarre is that? That's what's wrong with the political process today.

You've got folks voting on the politics of the advocates, denying them a "win" - rather than voting on the merits of the bill presented. Jason, voting yes on this bill doesn't mean you're obligated to vote yes on every bill in the future.

Sigh. I had hoped we were better than that.

Voting against the bill were all twelve Republicans, plus Senators Joanne Verger (D-Coos Bay), Martha Schrader (D-Canby), and Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose).

  • Brendan (unverified)

    "Atkinson is saying that his opposition to THIS bill is because he's opposed to what MIGHT be in the NEXT bill.

    How bizarre is that? That's what's wrong with the political process today. "

    That is the political process. It's called setting precedent.

  • Mari Anne (unverified)

    Good lord. This is a mom and apple pie bill. The bill was narrowed down to only ban BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. I find it disheartening that our own friends(democrats)defeated this bill out of fear of what we may propose next. I don't get it. They have the vote! Don't they trust themselves?

    As much as we think of Oregon as a green state it is more of a perception rather than a reality. Disappointing to say the least.

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    i thanked Martha Schrader yesterday for carrying SR 3 to the floor: the Senate's version of the resolution honoring the 41st Brigade in Iraq (i just happened to walk into the gallery minutes before that vote; Alan Bates' story about his dad was amazing). a few minutes later, she voted against Sen Rosenbaum's excellent bill to block (most of) the use of credit reports in job apps. and now, today, this.

    neither she nor Johnson nor Verger said anything on the floor during the debate; they just say there and then voted to allow a proven poison access to small children. that's what their vote amounted to: a refusal to prevent harm to children under the age of 3. and because an industry might be hurt in the future? what happens if the FDA miraculously bans EPA next week: do they demand the AG sue the feds?

    if it's bad for kids, you keep it away from kids. humans have canned foods quite well without BPA for centuries; my mom did it. this is the kind of lame excuse that has no place in the Legislature. Greg Matthews' passionate defense of Gresham banks was incredibly disheartening. i expect Atkinson to argue for corporations and developers and to place narrow, elite interests above the welfare of the dimwits who continue to vote for his snakeoil routine.

    i except better from members of the the party of Thomas Jefferson & FDR.

  • David Sugerman (unverified)

    Ironic. There are a number of sad consequences to this vote. The opponents' unwillingness to take simple steps to protect children simply leaves any resulting carnage to the courts and trial lawyers.

    Choosing industry over children? Truly amazing. Special shout out to the "D's" who joined the majority. You've outdone yourselves this time.

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    Sen. Atkinson: "Oh the humanity, will nobody think of the businesses and their bottom lines!?"

  • chris #12 (unverified)

    Not sure who I'm more disgusted with, the Republicans that are supposed to side with big business over kids' health, or the Democrats who went along for the ride.

    Never mind, it's obvious. I was briefly impressed with the Dems for raising taxes on the rich, but I guess that was just a fluke. Reminds me of the saying about third parties--I'd be happy with a second one (that wasn't all about serving big business).

  • tyrone (unverified)

    [Off-topic racist crap deleted. -editor.]

  • Joshua Welch (unverified)


  • Joshua Welch (unverified)

    Nothing like fighting to keep dangerous chemicals in baby bottles. Is there any integrity left on the Oregon Rescumlican Party?

  • jim (unverified)

    You would think that by the time Verger, Schrader and Johnson were elected to the Oregon Senate, they would recognize the oldest tricks in the rhetorical toolbox. How pathetic!!

    Slippery slope ; the slippery slope fallacy lies in abusing the intuitively appreciable transitivity of implication, claiming that A lead to B, B leads to C, C leads to D and so on, until one finally claims that A leads to Z.


    Reductio ad absurdum (Latin: "reduction to the absurd") is a form of argument in which a proposition is disproven by following its implications to a logical but absurd consequence.

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)

    Very disappointing.

  • Zarathustra is my real pseudonym (unverified)

    Like you said before, it was an easy decision. Stops when we stop letting reps get off easy.

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    The solution is currently at the top of this page where an ad for a stainless steel water bottle is posted with the tag line, "stop drinking plastic".

    Nice timing.

  • Taylor M (unverified)

    John Calhoun- you do realize that babies and unborn children can't read the Blue Oregon advertising, right?

  • The Skald (unverified)

    Taylor - perhaps their parents can?

  • mp97303 (unverified)


    I don't see an R after these names: Senators Joanne Verger (D-Coos Bay), Martha Schrader (D-Canby), and Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose)

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)

    hmmm, i thought that the science here was ambiguous at best. While it may suggest a problem, it has yet to pinpoint it. but then that hasn't stopped other State mandated solutions.

  • Zarathustra is my real pseudonym (unverified)

    This is classic Dem politics. "Let's find a group to help out today". As always, it's a broader issue and everybody could use some relief, not just the clique du jour. If the additive is borderline questionable for small children, what's the production and industrial use of it like for adults local to where it's produced? What about disposal? Classic Dem, let's not really upset business as usual, but lets enfranchise one tiny piece of the pie that, coincidentally, is one of the groups you pander to when pimping for votes.

    Posted by: Taylor M | Feb 16, 2010 5:28:51 PM

    John Calhoun- you do realize that babies and unborn children can't read the Blue Oregon advertising, right?

    Are we ever going to learn if that's PPM or pay-per-click, and just what the money goes for? Since it's a "volunteer run blog" and I know what hosting and (non) management cost, there's a significant chunk left over. Is that why right wing trolls are encouraged? Using their page views to generate Dem soft money? How does t.a. manage to run a blog without trolls, drive by postings, link spam AND ads.? Must be a blog management genius!

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    Just one more reason why I'm not registered D or R and why I don't vote the party.

  • todd wynn (unverified)

    Obviously this is a contentious issue because many groups across the state have turned it into an emotional argument by claiming it is ‘for the children’. Despite this, the facts are conclusive that the exposure to BPA is so low that it is not a concern.

    According to data from Health Canada, a 22 lbs infant would have to drink 434 4 oz. bottles per day to reach the European Food Safety Authority's recently set "safe" intake level of BPA. This "safe" intake level already includes a 100-fold safety factor beyond the no effect level determined in studies on laboratory animals.

    On June 2, 2009, the United Kingdom Food Standards Agency (FSA) said, “The view of the FSA on BPA has not changed. We do not believe that UK consumers are exposed to levels of BPA that would be considered a danger.”

    On March 2009 Health Canada noted, “Health Canada’s Food Directorate has concluded that the current dietary exposure to BPA through food packaging uses is not expected to pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and infants.”

    A ban on BPA would have forced consumers to rely on less tested or inferior alternatives that could very well carry a much higher risk.

    The full report is available here:

    A summary is available here:

  • BOHICA (unverified)

    "" 'nuff said

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    Choosing industry over children? Truly amazing. Special shout out to the "D's" who joined the majority. You've outdone yourselves this time.

    Agreed. This is ridiculous.

    This and the lack of kicker reform are deeply disappointing. The state just handed progressives an immense victory with M66/67. It was my hope that this would encourage Dems in the legislature to "spine up".

    All the more reason to support Dems and progressives who really do the good work and push hard on those who don't. That sometimes means not supporting (and working against) Dems who don't bring that progressive ethic to their job in the legislature.

  • TravisW (unverified)

    I think the Senate Democrats have been pathetic on environmental issues this session. There is way too much emphasis on deferring things until 2011 - as if everything will get done then - with the convenient scapegoat having been M 66 and 67 and not wanting to "ask too much" of business - which we've heard plenty in Salem this session. They said this for Plastig Bags, Navigability, now BPA. Wow, and who is in Power again?

  • Bronch O'Humphrey (unverified)

    Todd Wynn says it's too little exposure, your infant will barely notice! I believe that's the same BS that we were told about second-hand smoke, toxic waste and pollutants in rivers, pesticides on food and a whole bunch of other industry cover-ups.

    Too bad it failed in the Senate....I was looking forward to hearing what stolen material Matt Wingard would use to justify his No vote.

  • Patrick Story (unverified)

    Looks like the lege must have expected the Measures to fail. Ever since they passed, legislators have turned their backs on voters to better serve their corporate patrons. Our sworn representatives won't let that corporate cash trough, BETC, sunset as intended; won't kick the kicker, which sends millions of other dollars back to the corporations; and now won't even protect babies and toddlers from BPA.

    Why would anybody vote for an incumbent in November?

  • Lisa Frack, Activistas (unverified)

    Martha Shrader is a Democrat. Why does that sound wrong when I say it out loud?

    Also, the WI state Assembly passed a very similar bill the same day 95-2 (!) read it and weep:

    A favorite in the testimony was when Sen. Atkinson compared moms concerned about BPA (which the US FDA has advised parents to avoid) with moms who treat their kids for a cold before they even have one. You know, the over protective paranoid ones.

    Maybe he's not aware that the FDA's January 2010 decision to rate BPA as being of "some concern" (3 of a possible 5) is the same level of concern it assigned to amphetamines in infants. Yes, amphetamines.

    And his plea to treat all humans equally here - i.e., "don't just protect the kids, guys, we're all important" is a wee off base on the science. Last I checked infants and kids have developing bodies that are more sensitive to pretty much everything.

    But at least the food bank won't have to go completely without canned food, as one industry lobbyist suggested in a committee hearing. And good thing we have BPA to "keep formula fresh" - or some other off-topic madness that the NW Grocer rep used to not answer the question on Think Out Loud.

    The whole thing was a sordid industry v. public health soap opera. Predictable, but still sordid.

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    Darn good thing that we Blue Oregonians are all over the science of climate change, and regularly pillory and mock those fools who go with their gut on the issue.

    When, however, we get science that we disagree with, we can just ignore it out of hand.

    At least there's a piss-poor excuse. Somebody from CPI pointed the science out it out.

    This is why self styled progressives have such a great rep regarding the ability to think critically.

    Good thing we aren't like those wingnuts and teabaggers, and.......

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    Oh, and Todd, you might wanna link to your source material from Canada and the UK.

    Most BO posters don't get a brain freeze when they see your name, but suffer significant cardiac arythmia when they see CPI. It's barely possible that some few people would take the time to follow up on the research.

    Granted, the idea that Gummint can deliver us from risk 100% of the time is about as sensible as believing that untrammeled free markets in which logical participants act in their own enlightened self interest, Won't lead directly to Global Oligarchy.


    If only Blue Oregon had an intrepid and fearless reporter who would defend the relevant facts against all comers. A reporter that had some basic uderstanding of both risk and statistics. A reporter who would not back down even when stood up against the Gates of Hell.

    We can dream, can't we?

  • Mike O'Brien (unverified)

    Todd, do you really think you can count on Cascade Policy Institute for an objective analysis of the hazards of BPA?

    It's a typical example of a toxic chemical that has practical applications. The companies who make and use it put the burden of proof on those who may be injured to show that it is harmful enough to be restricted. It's the "show us the dead bodies" argument. It really ought to be the other way around, chemicals should be shown to be safe before they are introduced into commerce and our bodies.

  • Lisa Frack, Activistas (unverified)

    Mike, Yes re chemicals should be proven safe before they hot the market, not after the bodies are counted. Which is precisely why the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (aka TSCA) needs to be reformed. But we're waiting....and waiting...on Congress to introduce the Kid-Safe Chemicals Act. Getting close, but close is still no bill. More here:

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    If only Blue Oregon had an intrepid and fearless reporter who would defend the relevant facts against all comers. A reporter that had some basic uderstanding of both risk and statistics. A reporter who would not back down even when stood up against the Gates of Hell.

    Hey Pat, you've got a password! Use it! :)

  • Anonymous (unverified)

    Oh, Kari, if only the Democrats were in control of the Oregon Senate, how different it would be!

    Oh, wait. They are.

    So why are Republicans the villains here? Because this is Blue Oregon, where the conclusions are written first, and the facts are collected later.

  • littlevoice (unverified)
    <h2>I think I found a solution to this whole problem. I just went to the store the other day and bought new bottles for my kid that were all BPA free. Just like that, picked them off the shelf and bought them. Problem solved.</h2>

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