SB 695 Update: Who's holding up a floor vote on BPA?

T.A. Barnhart

SB 695 Update: Who's holding up a floor vote on BPA?

Rep Ben Cannon, with a group of students from his school, in the House chamber

Here is a list of the State Representatives who have not signed the discharge petition for SB 695:


HD 10 Jean Cowan 503.986.1410
HD 12 Terry Beyer 503.986.1412
HD 21 Brian Clem 503.986.1421
HD 48 Mike Schaufler 503.986.1448
HD 50 Greg Matthews 503.986.1450
HD 09 Arnie Roblan 503.986.1409


NO Republican has signed yet; that includes bill co-sponsor Greg Smith (503.986.1457)

If you want your representative to sign the petition, call them and let them know. The deadline to gather 31 signatures is 5 pm Wednesday (that’s tomorrow).


SB 695 is being blocked by GOP leadership in the House for one simple reason: if it made it to the floor of the House for an up-or-down vote, it would pass. Rep Cannon, Co-chair of the committee where the bill is being blocked (Energy, Environment and Water) is trying to get the bill to the floor of the House for an up-or-down vote; 31 signatures on the discharge petition, and the bill is moved from the committee to the full House.

This bill will ban the use of the toxic chemical BPA in baby bottles, sippy cups and infant formula containers. Many retailers have dropped such products, but they are still available in Oregon. This bill will protect all Oregon families from use of these dangerous products.

It is possible that a representative is hesitant to sign a petition and circumvent the committee process, even if they agree with the bill. That is not a good reason to not sign the petition. The bill is being blocked for political, not policy, reasons.

For more information on this bill and the importance of this discharge petition, please see my previous post.

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    In wide use for over fifty years, BPA has been extensively studied. The best science continues to tell us that consumer exposure to BPA is far below levels of concern even for infants and children.

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      FYI, everyone, Todd Wynn is an employee of the Cascade Policy Institute - a "free market" "think tank" that refuses to disclose its donors.

      Todd, per our guidelines, please disclose whether you or your organization is being compensated for writing about or commenting on this policy issue.

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    The EPA has established a level where there are no observable effects from BPA. This level is 50 mg per kg of body weight per day. The EPA wanted to be extra safe and divided that by 1000. The EPA safe exposure level is .05 mg per kg of body weight per day. Human exposure to BPA (babies, children and adults) is currently 100 to 1000 times less than the safe exposure limit.

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      For the sake of argument, let's assume that you're right, Todd.

      What's the harm in banning it from sippy cups and baby bottles? Are there hundreds of BPA-production jobs in Oregon? Any major manufacturers of baby bottles and sippy cups that would go out of business?

      Let's at least stipulate that plenty of reasonable people - including scientists and physicians - have at least raised some questions on the harm created by BPA.

      So, what's the harm in banning it from baby products?

      Even you've got to admit that when you weigh a question mark against a zero, the question mark should win. Right?

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        "What's the harm in banning it from sippy cups and baby bottles? Are there hundreds of BPA-production jobs in Oregon? Any major manufacturers of baby bottles and sippy cups that would go out of business?"

        This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of economic principles. By this same logic, we could ban anything not produced in Oregon and somehow Oregonians would not be affected in the slightest.

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    BPA is not just used in water bottles or “sippy” cups but it is used in a whole host of products including making medical devices safer. BPA lines cans and lids of containers to prevent the leaching of metal into food and beverages.

    BPA also protects against food contamination. It is widely used because of this capacity to protect against a whole host of possible food contamination issues.

    All of BPA’s benefits – ranging from recyclability, reusability, energy efficiency, and durability for protection of food and consumer products – are at risk. In addition, products introduced to perform the same functions may be more expensive, not work as well, and produce new risks that have yet to be studied.

    • When used to make coatings for canned foods and beverages, plastics prevent food from bacterial and rust-related contamination – a critical public health need. It also reduces food spoilage, maintains food quality and taste, and extends food shelf life. These advantages would be jeopardized if a ban on BPA were to be passed.

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    If you would like to learn more about this issue you can check out the full report at

    I know you would love to be more informed about this issue. :)

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      Todd you posted the same repackaged "report" on the BPA campaign's Facebook page. Then you whined that no one was willing to engage you on the substance of its findings. When I did take the time to post a point by point refutation, you disappeared from the discussion. Here's a link if you've forgotten:

      So now that you're out peddling the same material again, will you actually engage in defending the substance of this report that was produced by a front group for the oil & chemical industry?

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    If all of Todd's claims are true, then why not explain it to the public at large, hold a news conference, put it on the radio, tv and newspapers, and bring it up on the floor so INFORMED legislators can discuss it and make an informed, intelligent vote? I am unable to attend Bruce Hannah's town hall tonight (May 31, 6:30pm at Hillsboro civic center) so somebody please ask him why it is being held back from discussion. Look forward to reading updates here later.

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      Hello Glen - I did attend last night's Town Hall. In fact made the long drive to Hillsboro, specifically because Republican House Leader Hannah was attending. He didn't have time to meet with those of us who went to Salem last week to urge him to move this out of the committee. I wanted to ask him your same question, why are you blocking this from a vote on the floor? The Republican legislators who attended blocked that too; instead opting to answer to some hand picked "audience representatives and questions."

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        that's not fair, Mary; they were answering questions almost as random. it was Rep Lindsay who decided to take on BPA (and he'll be made to answer for that later, bwaahaaha). they only had an hour & wanted to get thru as many questions as possible - that's standard for this kind of event. he did, in fact, stay & talk to people for quite a while after. i left before he did!

        the Speaker was completely wrong on the issue, of course, as was Rep Lindsay. and the fact that he is personally blocking movement on this bill is now confirmed by Rep Vic Gillam, cochair of the committee. not that he would have copped to that last night. but among their sins we cannot add hiding from the public; they just didn't like getting yelled at by random, angry people. who does?

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          Respectfully, I ask: Fair? I found the selection of questions and audience members highly suspect and not plausibly construed as random. I had one question: Why are you blocking SB 695 from the floor for a vote, and it is the one question leaders are not answering. It seems others had the same, and it was not addressed.

          That said, I would agree with your assessment that the issue of BPA was dealt with even-handedly by the rules of the event. I was appalled by how little discourse any of the legislators allowed. Perhaps if they availed themselves more of the opportunity to listen to their constituents, people wouldn't feel the necessity to "get angry and yell at them." I think there is something disingenuous about politicians allowing themselves the time to grandstand on positions, and then relegating public comment on same to "post event chit chat." If they had so much time to linger after to speak with people (which I also noted they did), why did the program have to be rushed through in an hour?

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    Does anyone have any information on any new signatures to the petition?

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    Thanks for monitoring the progress of this bill and keeping the pressure on.

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    I cannot and hope any person who cares about their own children or any kids they know would ever support a legislator who stood in the way of this passing. And as a good and loyal Democrat, I cannot imagine supporting a candidate who would put children at risk even if they were from my own party.

    If this does not pass, I will spend whatever time and resources I can for the initiative campaign to just ban it all.

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    Jean Cowan and Terry Beyer have signed the petition.

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