Things are mighty busy over at the Indiana General Assembly these days. What with all the repealing of health care, banning of labor unions and outlawing of abortions. No wonder our lawmakers haven't yet found time to join the rest of the modern world and whip up some legislation that would stop babies from being poisoned every time they use a plastic bottle.
Thirty other states did find the time to introduce toxic chemical legislation last week, however, according to the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition.
One chemical that’s getting heavy scrutiny is Bisphenol A (BPA), which has been linked to cancer and reproductive health issues. It's commonly found in plastics, including products like baby bottles and reusable water bottles, and even canned food. Last fall, Canada was the first country to declare BPA toxic, and a government study found that 91 percent of Canadians carried the chemical in their bodies.
Other states plan to ban Cadmium, the chemical that famously caused the McDonald's Shrek glass recall. Meanwhile, other states hope to phase out Deca BDE (toxic flame retardants), found in furniture and electronics.
In the U.S., however, companies are free to put these chemicals in everyday products. And so far, the law that allows companies to poison our products — the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act — has not been overhauled.
That's why states have had to take the issue into their own hands. Neighboring states Ohio, Illinois, and Kentucky — along with at least 14 others — have introduced legislation to put a stop to BPA by banning it from products like infant formula cans, baby bottles, and sippy cups. In Michigan and Illinois, comprehensive legislation has been introduced to change how chemicals are regulated at the state level.
Meanwhile, Indiana and the federal government sit idly by while other states work to keep its residents safe — especially its youngest, most helpless and vulnerable residents, children.
Reform, when brought up, has wide support. Last year, a report from SAFER States and Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families found that the 18 states that passed 71 chemical safety laws over the past eight years did so with strong bipartisan support. Democrats voted for them 99 percent of the time, while Republicans did so 73 percent of the time.
It's just a matter of speaking up and letting our legislators know that all these unnecessary toxic chemicals in our everyday products are ridiculous and need to banned and regulated. In the end it's unconscionable that legislators would vote against these bills. After all, no one wants to be thought of as a baby killer — okay, baby harmer.