SB 695: a ban on BPA in infant products

T.A. Barnhart

Last year, in the February special session, Democrats thought they had the votes to pass a ban on BPA (biphesonal-A) in infant bottles, sippy cups and related products. When the Senate voted, however, three Dems — Betsy Johnson, Joanne Verger and Martha Schrader — joined the 15 Rs to kill the bill on a tie vote. This year, with bipartisan backing that includes Sen Brian Boquist as a co-sponsor, the odds of passage seem stronger.

SB 695 would ban BPA from bottles, sippy cups & other infant products. The ban on BPA in cans of infant formula would apply only to products approved by the WIC program. Support for the bill is bipartisan, and a variety of parents and activists spoke at the Senate Environment and Natural Resources public hearing. Opposition was represented by the Northwest Food Processors, an overwrought and long-winded hired gun from the canning industry, and a representative of the International Formula Association — yes, there is an International Formula Assn. (When he spoke of the health of babies being their paramount concern, I'm afraid I muttered an obscenity; given the nature of the industry, promoting an unhealthy, unsafe and unsustainable product in vulnerable populations, I refuse to apologize. I also did not include them in the video; given that Walmart has removed these products from their stores, opposition is not about infant products but possible expansion of the ban to other products, such as canned foods.)

The hearing was Tuesday; no further action is scheduled but that's usual at this point in the session. A package of amendments was brought forward; these limit the scope of the bill and were not available to the public prior to the hearing. The committee will probably hold another hearing and then a work session at some point to vote on the bill.

T.A. Barnhart has been writing at Blue Oregon for nearly 6 years. He recently completed a successful Kickstarter project to enable him to produce daily video reports from the Legislature during the 2011 session. This video is part of that project at . He writes regularly at You’ll find more videos, including interviews and excerpts of local progressive events, at his Vimeo page. And he’s on Facebook a lot!


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