NCSL Policy Update: State Restrictions on Bisphenol A (BPA) in Consumer Products
Concerns about potentially negative health effects from exposure to bisphenol A in many consumer products have led to action in state legislatures. Known as BPA for short, bisphenol A serves as a hardening agent in a number of plastic products. It is used in baby bottles, sippy cups, and medical and dental devices and as coatings for food and beverage cans. New research has linked BPA exposure to accelerated puberty and an increase risk for cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Although, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration—which has primary responsibility for regulating the compound—has expressed "some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children." In July 2012, the agency announced that it would no longer allow BPA in baby bottles and children’s drinking cups. The agency has not restricted its use in other consumer products.
In recent years, several state legislatures have taken up the issue. Eleven states and the District of Columbia have enacted restrictions since 2009. Below is a summary of these BPA laws.
Assembly Bill 1319 (2011)
Enacted in October 2011, California Assembly Bill 1319 prohibits the manufacture, sale or distribution of bottles or cups which contain BPA at a detectable level above 0.1 parts per billion if the containers are designed to be used by children three years of age or younger. Requires manufactures to replace BPA in these products with the least toxic alternative and prohibits them from replacing BPA with certain carcinogens or reproductive toxicants. California’s restrictions take effect July 1, 2013.
House Bill 6572 (2009)
Enacted in June 2009, Connecticut House Bill 6572 bans the sale of reusable food or beverage containers—including baby bottles, spill-proof cups, sports bottles and thermoses—that contain BPA. The bill also bans the sale of baby food or infant formula sold in containers that contain BPA. Connecticut’s restrictions take effect October 1, 2011.
Senate Bill 210 (2011)
Enacted in July 2011, Connecticut Senate Bill 210 prohibits the manufacture, sale or distribution of thermal receipt paper or cash register receipt paper containing BPA. The restrictions take effect October 1, 2013, unless the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does not identify a safe alternative to BPA in these products, in which case the restrictions take effect July 1, 2015.
Senate Bill 70 (2011)
Enacted in June 2011, Delaware Senate Bill 70 prohibits the sale of bottles or cups containing BPA if those containers are designed for use by children under four years of age. Delaware’s restrictions take effect July 1, 2012.
House Bill 330 (2011)
Enacted in April 2011, Maine House Bill 330 approves the designation of BPA as a priority chemical under the state’s toxic chemicals in children’s products law (38 MRSA §1691 et al.). This law establishes certain reporting requirements for manufacturers of products containing priority chemicals and authorizes sales prohibitions of these products.
House Bill 33 (2010) and Senate Bill 213 (2010)
Enacted in April 2010, these bills prohibit the manufacture, sale, or distribution of children’s bottles or cups that contain BPA after January 1, 2012. The law requires manufactures to replace BPA in these products with the least toxic alternative and prohibits them from replacing BPA with certain carcinogens or reproductive toxicants.
House Bill 4 (2011) and Senate Bill 151 (2011)
Enacted in May 2011, these bills prohibit the manufacture, sale and distribution of containers of infant formula containing more than 0.5 parts per billion of BPA. These bills also prohibit the state from purchasing infant formula in containers made with BPA. These restrictions take effect July 1, 2014.
105 MA ADC 650.020—Listing of Banned Hazardous Substances (2011)
In January 2011, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health adopted revisions to its hazardous substances administrative regulations that declared children's reusable food or beverage containers containing bisphenol-A banned hazardous substances. The ban covers those containers that are manufactured on or after January 7, 2011, or sold at retail on or after July 1, 2011. Previously, the Department had issued a public health advisory in August 2009 warning parents of infants and young children to avoid storing infant formula or breast milk in plastic bottles containing BPA.
Senate Bill 247 (2009)
Enacted in May 2009, Minnesota S.B. 247 prohibits the sale of any bottle or cup that is designed or intended for use by a child under three years of age and contains BPA. The ban applies to manufacturers and wholesalers beginning on January 1, 2010 and to retailers on January 1, 2011.
Senate Bill 3296 (2010)
Enacted in July 2010, New York S.B. 3296 prohibits the sale of pacifiers, baby bottles, sippy cups and other unfilled beverage containers for use by children under three years of age that contain BPA after December 1, 2010. The law also allows products to be labeled as BPA-free.
Senate Bill 247 (2010)
Enacted in May 2010, Vermont S.B. 247 bans baby food and infant formula stored in containers that contain BPA. The law also prohibits the manufacture, sale or distribution of reusable food or beverage containers such as baby bottles, spill-proof cups, sports bottles, and thermoses that contain BPA. The law requires manufactures to replace BPA in these products with the least toxic alternative and prohibits them from replacing BPA with certain carcinogens or reproductive toxicants. Vermont’s restrictions take effect July 1, 2012.
Senate Bill 6248 (2010)
Enacted in March 2010, Washington S.B. 6248 prohibits the manufacture, sale or distribution of empty bottles, cups or other food or beverage containers that contain BPA after July 1, 2011. Metal cans are exempted from this ban. The law also prohibits the manufacture, sale or distribution of empty sports bottles of 64 ounces or less that contain BPA after July 1, 2012. A provision of the law requires manufacturers to recall prohibited products and reimburse the retailer or any other purchaser for the product.
Senate Bill 271 (2010)
Enacted in March 2010, Wisconsin S.B. 271 prohibits the manufacture or sale at wholesale and retail of empty baby bottles and spill-proof cups for use by children 3 years of age or younger that contain BPA after June 15, 2010. Manufacturers of these products also must conspicuously label each product as not containing BPA.
District of Columbia
Bill 521 (2009)
Enacted in March 2011, D.C. Bill 521 prohibits the manufacture, sale or distribution of bottles, cups or containers made from BPA if they are designed to be filled with food or liquids. The restrictions take effect July 1, 2011.
Canada banned BPA in baby bottles in August 2008.
Chicago banned the sale of baby bottles containing BPA in May 2009.
Suffolk County, New York banned baby bottles containing BPA in April 2009.
NCSL’s Environmental Health Legislation Database