Friday, April 18, 2008

Oh Canada!

Today has been a busy busy day. Poor little chemical industry PR departments. T.G.I.F. PR people!!

In the New York Times today (and NPR) there was an article about how Nalgene, you know the company that sells those hard plastic bottles to the trendy environmentalists and hipster's you see all over the place, well they decided that they will no longer be selling those cute little re-useable bottles with BPA. Come on . . . Say with me, say it proud, BPA stands for . . . . Bisphenol A! And it's a endocrine disruptor. And it shouldn't be inside our cute little re-useable water bottles, or baby bottles or anything else really. And if we had a society that was based on the precautionary principle we wouldn't have to worry or spend a crap load of money and time on getting corporations to stop making products that contain crappy toxic chemicals. In fact, I would be able to get a job that pays a whole lot more money and have the weekends off, maybe if I was really lucky I could even leave early on Fridays.

So . . Canada. Oh, Canada! Our brother from another mother.

Turns out our friends in the north don't want to poison their citizens. Their government even takes action on toxic chemicals, well today anyway. As in eliminating them instead of giving corporations that make them access to environmental investigations of their toxicity. Weird.

Read this:

OTTAWA — The Canadian government moved Friday to ban polycarbonate infant bottles as it officially declared one of their chemical ingredients toxic.

The move by the departments of health and environment is the first action taken by any government against bisphenol-a, or B.P.A., a chemical that mimics a human hormone and that has induced long-term changes in animals exposed to it through tests.

“We’re not waiting to take action to protect our people and our environment from the long-term effects of bisphenol-a,” the environment minister, John Baird, told a news conference.

The most immediate impact of the toxic designation will be a ban on the importation and sale of baby bottles made with clear, hard polycarbonate. That move will not take effect until the end of a 60-day discussion period, however.

The health minister, Tony Clement, told reporters that after reviewing 150 research papers on B.P.A. and conducting its own studies, his department concluded that the chemical posed the most risk for newborns and children up to the age of 18 months. The minister said that animal studies suggest “there will be behavioral and neural symptoms later in life.”

Not only are potentially unsafe exposure levels to B.P.A. lower for children than adults, Mr. Clement said that cleaning infant bottles with boiling causes the release of the chemical into their contents.

He suggested that the government had planned to also ban the use of epoxies made with B.P.A. and sprayed into most infant formula cans as a lining. But, he added that no practical alternative is currently available.

Both ministers, however, insisted that current research showed that adults who use food and beverage containers made with B.P.A. related plastics were not at risk.

“For the average Canadian consuming things in those products, there is no risk today,” Mr. Clement said.

The government will, however, begin monitoring the B.P.A. exposure of 5,000 people between now and 2009. If research indicates a danger to adults, the government will take additional action, the officials said.

In addition to its concerns about infants and young children, the government said that its B.P.A. review found that even low levels of the chemical can harm fish and other aquatic life forms over time.

If the baby bottle ban takes effect on June 19, an event that can only be derailed by significant new evidence, it may have little practical effect.

Reports earlier this week indicating that the government would declare B.P.A. toxic prompted a rush by most of Canada’s major retailers to remove food-related B.P.A. products from their stores. The company’s largest druggist, Shoppers Drug Mart, took the step on Friday at its 1,080 stores shortly before the announcement.

Nalgene, the company that turned polycarbonate bottles from a piece of lab equipment into a popular drink container, has also decided to drop the plastic and use others plastics that do not contain B.P.A.

In Washington on Friday, Senator Charles E. Schumer, a Democrat from New York, said in a statement that he intended to introduce a bill that would create a widespread ban on B.P.A.-related plastics. It would prohibit their use in all children’s products as well as any product use to carry food or beverages for adults.

Maybe next week will be easier for you chemical industry people. Hmmm . . on second thought, maybe you should just take the week off.

No comments: