Letter to U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (Chairmen of the Energy and Commerce Committee) Supporting the “Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2009″

The Honorable Henry Waxman
Energy and Commerce Committee
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairman Waxman:

The above members of the Patient and Consumer Coalition strongly support H.R. 1523, the “Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2009,” which will remove Bisphenol A (BPA) from food and beverage containers.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found BPA in more than 90 percent of Americans tested for the chemical, and BPA is linked to numerous adverse health effects.

We are particularly concerned about BPA’s effects on pregnant women.  Scientists have reported that BPA adversely affects the health of fetuses (along with infants and children) at currently exposed levels.[1] Six major baby bottle manufacturers have recently announced that they will stop using BPA in bottles, but other manufacturers will continue to sell baby bottles with BPA.  In addition, if a pregnant woman drinks or eats food stored in a container lined with BPA, her fetus would also be exposed to the chemical.  H.R. 1523 addresses this issue by banning BPA in all food and beverage containers.

We are also gravely concerned about BPA’s effect on chemotherapy patients, especially those with breast cancer.  A 2008 University of Cincinnati study concluded that “BPA at environmentally relevant doses” makes “chemotherapy significantly less effective.”[2] This is particularly disturbing since studies have shown BPA can cause breast cancer in laboratory animals, and now a study shows that it interferes with chemotherapy-an important tool in treating breast cancer.

Numerous other scientific studies raise red flags about BPA.  A recent study published in JAMA indicates that adults with higher levels of BPA in their bodies were more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes or heart disease, even when obesity was statistically controlled.[3] Studies have also linked BPA to miscarriages, insulin resistance (a risk factor for Type II diabetes), and increased formation and growth of fat cells (which can lead to obesity).[4] A 2008 Yale study linked BPA to brain and mood disorders in monkeys, which has implications for depression and learning in humans.[5] Other studies state that BPA can affect the prostate and  mammary glands and lead to early puberty in girls.[4]

Alternatives to BPA are available and several manufacturers and retailers have pledged to remove it from their products.  BPA maker Sunoco recently announced that it will refuse to sell BPA to companies for use in food and beverage containers for children younger than 3.

However, a comprehensive ban, such as the “Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2009” is needed to make sure that all manufacturers stop using BPA.  It is not enough to ban BPA in products that directly affect infants and small children.  The only way to protect pregnant women, all children and chemotherapy patients, is to ban BPA from products used by adults as well.  We strongly support H.R. 1523, the Ban Poisonous Additives (BPA) Act, introduced by Rep. Ed Markey.


Breast Cancer Action
Breast Cancer Fund
Community Access National Network (CANN)
Consumer Federation of America
Consumers Union
Government Accountability Project (GAP)
National Research Center for Women & Families/Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund
Our Bodies Ourselves

For additional information, contact Paul Brown at the National Research Center for Women & Families at (202) 223-4000 or at pb@center4research.org

1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), (2008, April 14). National Toxicology Program, Draft NTP Brief on Bisphenol A, retrieved from http://cerhr.niehs.nih.gov/chemicals/bisphenol/BPADraftBriefVF_04_14_08.pdf.

2. LaPensee, E.W., et al. (2008).  Bisphenol A at Low Nanomolar Doses Confers Chemoresistance in Estrogen Receptor Alpha Positive and Negative Breast Cancer Cells, retrieved from http://www.ehponline.org/members/2008/11788/11788.pdf

3. Lang, I.A., et al. (2008).  Association of Urinary Bisphenol A Concentration With Medical Disorders and Laboratory Abnormalities in Adults, JAMA, retrieved from http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/300/11/1303

4. Environmental Working Group, (2007, March). Bisphenol A: Toxic Plastics Chemical in Canned Food, retrieved fromhttp://www.ewg.org/book/export/html/20928.

5. Layton, L. (2008, September 4).  Chemical in Plastic Is Connected to Health Problems in Monkeys.  The Washington Post, retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/03/AR2008090303397.html