April 8, 2011

House votes overwhelmingly to ban BPA from child products

Only three Republican freshmen representatives vote against endorsing the chemical ban.

By Rebekah Metzler rmetzler@mainetoday.com
MaineToday Media State House Writer

AUGUSTA - The Maine House of Representatives on Thursday overwhelmingly endorsed banning the chemical bisphenol-A from children's products such as sippy cups and baby bottles.

The ban on BPA, which many studies have shown poses cancer risks to children and pregnant women, was the first proposal to work its way through the chemical regulation process created by Maine's Kid Safe Products Act of 2008.

The Republican-controlled House voted 145-3 to approve the ban.

The bill, L.D. 412, had been endorsed unanimously by the Legislature's Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

The only opposition to the measure Thursday came from three Republican freshmen -- Reps. Larry Dunphy of Embden, Beth O'Connor of Berwick and Heather Sirocki of Scarborough.

"The reason why I do not support this bill is not because I think BPA is safe; rather, I support keeping BPA in the marketplace because it is a well-known additive and I am not convinced that a safe alternative is market-ready," Sirocki said on the House floor just before the vote.

The Senate will schedule a vote on the measure soon.

Gov. Paul LePage opposes the ban, saying he's not convinced that BPA is dangerous.

He raised the profile of the issue and drew national attention when he joked that the worst-case side effect of BPA would be women growing "little beards."

But at a legislative hearing on the bill in late March, the administration dropped its opposition to the ban. Commissioner Darryl Brown of the Department of Environmental Protection testified neither for nor against the bill.

The governor's office said at the time that LePage still personally opposed the ban.

MaineToday Media State House Writer Rebekah Metzler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:



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