16 January 2013
Honorable Paul R. LePage
Office of the Governor
#1 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0001
Re: The scientific reason to get BPA out of baby and toddler food in Maine
Dear Governor LePage,
As a practicing pediatrician, I was encouraged to see your quote in the Portland Press Herald on January 13 stating: "If there is a scientific reason to take BPA off the shelves, I will support it." I was then disappointed and troubled to learn of your current stance on this issue.
Since the debate in Augusta began on this, several key new studies in reputable journals have pointed to major concerns around BPA exposure to the fetus, newborn, and toddler. Certainly the medical community broadly accepts the idea that this chemical is too dangerous to be used in the packaging of children’s foods or in their bottles.
I was hopeful that the solid new data and your recent comments indicated that you would be supportive of the relatively narrow limits on BPA that the Board of Environmental Protection is considering.
The fact is, the science on BPA is both evolving and convincing, with many more studies available than when you originally opposed taking action on BPA two years ago.
I would strongly urge you to revisit your position on BPA and take a look at what all of the top medical societies in Maine are in agreement on with respect to the dangers this chemical poses to Maine babies and toddlers.
Let me summarize just some of the scientific reasons for removing BPA from food packaging for young children:
• We know that BPA harms the developing brain of children
Some of the most concerning and compelling evidence linking BPA exposure to effects in humans concerns the effects of developmental exposures on behavior. A study published in the prestigious peer-review journal Environmental Health Perspectives reported that prenatal exposure to BPA was associated with an increase in hyperactivity and aggression in two-year-old girls (Braun et al., 2009). In a follow-up assessment of this cohort of children published in Pediatrics, average maternal BPA levels were associated with an increase in anxiety and hyperactivity, and poorer emotional control and inhibition in three-year-old girls (Braun et al., 2011). Consistent with these findings in children are multiple animal studies documenting effects of developmental exposure to BPA on behavior.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention have validated these findings on BPA effects on human children.
• We know that Maine babies are exposed to BPA from baby food jars
BPA leaches from the coating of metal lids and contaminates baby food in glass jars. In a study published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists routinely found BPA in baby food that was packaged in glass jars with metal lids. Cao et al. (2009) sampled 122 jars of baby food, confirming the presence of BPA in 99 samples. For the other 23 samples, BPA may have been present but the type of food interfered with the testing procedure.
The Department of Environmental Protection inaccurately cited this study as evidence that Maine babies were not exposed to BPA.
• We know that safer BPA-free alternatives are widely available
The Department’s own expert contractor, TechLaw LLC, found that safer BPA-free packaging was widely available for baby food, including plastic containers, aseptic cartons and laminated pouches.
All of the scientific and legal criteria have been met under Maine law to prohibit the sale of baby food packaging that contains BPA.
Please reconsider and follow the medical science on BPA as it stands today.
Steve Feder, DO FAAP FACOP
President, Maine Chapter
American Academy of Pediatrics
Braun, J.M., Yolton, K., Dietrich, K.N., Hornung, R., Ye, X., Calafat, A.M. and Lanphear, B.P. (2009) Prenatal bisphenol A exposure and early childhood behavior. Environ Health Perspect 117, 1945-52.
Braun, J.M., Kalkbrenner, A.E., Calafat, A.M., Yolton, K., Ye, X., Dietrich, K.N. and Lanphear, B.P. (2011) Impact of early-life bisphenol a exposure on behavior and executive function in children. Pediatrics 128, 873-82.
Cao, X.L., Corriveau, J., Popovic, S., Clement, G., Beraldin, F. and Dufresne, G. (2009) Bisphenol A in baby food products in glass jars with metal lids from Canadian markets. J. Agric. Food Chem 57, 5345-5351.