California Doctors Reject BPA Findings

UPDATE: There were some questions on my diary at Daily Kos as to the science that was presented. Research had been released by California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. The scientists presented their evidence before the “science advisory board’s developmental and reproductive toxicant identification committee,” which composed of eight doctors from various fields of medicine. The doctors heard testimony from almost 30 people, including myself — an environmental advocate — and members of the canned goods industry. -Elisa

OAKLAND, Calif. — Despite day-long presentations of scientific data and heartfelt testimony by breast cancer survivors and concerned mothers, a panel of eight doctors unanimously voted against listing the chemical bisphenol A as a neurological and reproductive toxin under the state’s Proposition 65.

Proposition 65, which was passed by voters in 1986 to protect people from chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects and reproductive harm, requires the governor to publish at least annually a list of these toxic chemicals.

At least a dozen studies have suggested bisphenol A, or BPAs that are found in numerous plastic products, including baby bottles, sippy cups and the inside linings of cans, can cause infertility problems like low sperm count and miscarriage and increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer. But the doctors sided with the industry, saying the animal sample sizes of these studies were too small and that the doses of BPAs were inconsistent to demonstrate a clear link between the chemical and these dire illnesses.

“Whether there is enough for me to say this is harmful is not clear,” said Dr. Dorothy Burk. “There is a pattern there that makes me concerned, but I am not sure it meets our standard.”

There were a lot of disappointed and ticked off people in the room. Dozens of people from breast cancer groups, doctors, nurses, health and environmental organizations and concerned parents, attended the hearing yesterday at the Elihu Harris State Building in downtown Oakland. A whopping 17 people testified in favor of listing BPAs as a toxin under Proposition 65. For what it is worth, Canada has already listed the substance as a toxin and even banned it in baby bottles. Canned food companies in Japan and the UK are reducing their use of BPAs to avoid regulation.

As someone who is not a scientist but has read plenty of articles about the hazards of BPAs, I was surprised by the California doctors’ decision. My understanding is for a chemical to be listed under Proposition 65 there simply needs to be evidence that it could potentially be harmful; not that it is harmful only after consuming certain amounts of the substance. Also, the doctors did not mention the cumulative effects of the chemical as it is everywhere, including water bottles and cups. The doctors did single out chemical workers as facing a higher risk of exposure, but did not feel compelled to give them any warning.

The good news is there is a BPA bill in California that, despite heavy lobbying by the chemical industry, narrowly passed the Senate and is up for a vote in the Assembly. SB 797, which was introduced by Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills), would ban BPAs in baby bottles, toddler sippy cups and food containers. Here is an Assembly Member roster list to call in support of the bill.

Thanks all for your support!


Monday Open Thread

What’s up with our fellow beings in the blogosphere?

Congratulations to Feministing for celebrating its four-year anniversary. Keep up the good work, ladies.

Speaking of feminism, California Assemblywoman Karen Bass was just sworn in as Speaker of the California Assembly — the first African American woman to serve in this powerful role, according to MomsRising. She is also a mother who has advocated for, among other things, universal healthcare. MomsRising is floating around a congratulatory letter and petition reminding her of the importance of making sure all children in the state of California have health care coverage.  

Thank you to Daddy Dialectic for pointing out this fabulous rant by Knocked Up (and in Law School):

I have heard many women say that a father could just never love a child the way a mother does, and can’t take care of them the way a mother does either. I don’t believe that’s true at all, and I think it’s disrespectful to all the men who are spectacular parents. And I want to know why no one tries to make men feel guilty because they work outside the home? That’s the real question. Why does Law School Mom state that it matters whether she or a nanny takes her kids to school, but makes no mention of her husband in that scenario? Why do we as mothers put all of the guilt on ourselves (and on other women) instead of equally between both parents? Why is his career important, not to be inconvenienced by taking care of children, but hers isn’t? Why is she a bad mother for working, but he’s a good father for providing for his family? These double-standards are harmful for all parents, and perhaps the work environment for all parents, not just women, would improve if society expected men to take a more active role in all aspects of parenting, instead of viewing it as an abomination.

Amen, sister. To be fair, the fathers I know are very hands-on parents so this is changing.

Fellow MTer Dana wondered in her blog Mombian if lesbian moms watch sports they otherwise would not watch in order to expose their children to them.

The Mom Salon shared a powerful tip with bloggers, although this lesson can apply to anyone. Apparently, Oprah Winfrey has lost seven percent of her viewership, her magazine readership is also down and her reality show will not be renewed. Some are speculating that her public support for Sen. Barack Obama has alienated some fans.

Here is what Mom Salon’s Jennifer James had to say about it:

We can take Oprah’s current numbers scenario and apply it to our lives. Every time we write a blog post, we have to understand that everyone is not going to fully agree with what we’ve written, particularly if something we’ve posted is rather controversial or highly opinionated. We may even lose readers and our blog stats may begin looking a little unfruitful.

The lesson we can all glean from Oprah is to always stay true to ourselves and stick to our guns as bloggers. Without question, it is a blogger’s authenticity and confidence that fuels readership, even if that means some readers will defect along the way.

The Los Angeles Moms Blog, brought to you by the founders of Silicon Valley Moms Blog and New York Moms Blog (both in this site’s blogroll), are looking for writers. FYI.

Thank you Offsprung for this reminder: In case you missed it, New York Gov. David A. Paterson has asked all state agencies to revise their laws to recognize gay marriage from other places, according to the New York Times.

In response to the childhood obesity epidemic in this country, Kelly Mills over at Strollerderby offered five exercises to do with your baby/toddler/child. Strollerderby also ran this ancient Chinese gender chart to determine the sex of your baby. I admit, it worked for me and some of my friends, although there are many charts like it floating around.

On her blog Trees And Flowers And Birds, fellow MTer Christine posted a review of John Grisham’s non-legal fiction novel, Playing for Pizza. (BTW, loved the picture of you with Mike Piazza! Very cool.)

How often does your spouse tell you you are sexy? An inquiring mind on UrbanBaby wants to know.

Our condolences to fellow MTer Kay, who lost her grandfather and is trying to get back into the swing of things. We are sorry for your loss — and we miss you!

What else is on your minds, MotherTalkers?