Chicago Considering A Partial Ban On Bisphenol-A Products

Chicago might become the first place in the United States to partially ban the sale of products that contain Bisphenol-A (BPA), the chemical that some studies have shown may have harmful effects on humans. They’re proposing to forbid the sale of any BPA product intended for children. Canada banned the chemical last year, but the FDA has so far come down on the side of manufacturers.

[First Ward alderman Manny] Flores said he doesn’t want to waste any more time. “Let the city of Chicago show the FDA how to protect its citizens,” he said.

The ordinance would prohibit the sale of any “children’s product” containing BPA-that is, milk bottles and other goods “intended for use by, or care of, a child seven years or younger.” Manufacturers and retailers that violate the ordinance would face fines of up to $500 per item per day.

An attorney for the Illinois Retail Merchants Association warned the council that such a ban would be economically disastrous for merchants, but that’s assuming the ban would kick in too abruptly for manufacturers to accomodate, and that Chicago would actually enforce the rule immediately and strictly. Somehow we have a hard time believing the city would attack its own retail infrastructure.

The Council agreed to hold on the proposal for at least a couple of weeks and urged the FDA to reconsider a nationwide ban in that time.

[Finance Committee chairman Ed] Burke promised that they’d push the much stronger ordinance again in a few weeks if the feds didn’t make any progress: “We will not hold this ordinance forever.”

“Chemical Engineering” [Chicago Reader]

All of our BPA posts so far, you nerd
(Photo: daniellekellogg)


Edit Your Comment

  1. rpm773 says:

    These are the foie gras guys, right?

    • ojzitro says:

      @rpm773: Yup, but that got over turned pretty quick. And….no one really took it off the menus. They got around it by offering it for free, when you bought, say a 20 radish. They could give it away, but couldn’t sell it.

    • Spaceman Bill Leah: Zombie Fighting Dinosaur says:

      @rpm773: Also, the fois gras issue was pushed through City Council by ONE guy. The ban was not fitting with the mood of the cit at large.

  2. ARP says:

    Don’t regular plastic water bottles (not the sport’s bottles, the regular ones) have BPA in them?

    • Mr.DuckSauce says:

      @ARP: any plastic containers, I think also steel containers also.

    • unpolloloco says:

      @ARP: nope – only polycarbonate or polycarbonate lined ones

      • Anonymous says:

        @unpolloloco: Right. And it’s really not quite right to say they “contain” any significant amount of BPA. The trouble is that it’s one of the chemicals used in making polycarbonate, and at high temperatures, it can react (a very tiny bit) with water, which releases BPA. This is why trace amounts (well below most estimates of what’s dangerous) can be released from baby bottles (because they have to be heated) and water bottles are unaffected. Also, disposable bottles and many non-disposable bottles contain no BPA, since they’re made from different plastics.

      • cabjf says:

        @unpolloloco: One of the largest manufacturers of plastic water bottles, Nalgene, has switched to a different plastic that does not contain BPA. I believe you may still find the old polycarbonate ones on shelves though.

        The difficult part is that polycarbonate is designated with a recycle code of 7, but 7 is a catch all for anything that doesn’t fit in any of the other categories. So the only way to know that it does not contain BPA is to see a label on the packaging or the container itself claiming the product is BPA-free (which Nalgene’s new line does).

  3. Twinrevanoe says:

    Cant pay attention to the article, kitty is taking my attention. <3

  4. Davan says:

    What is that cat doing? And what does it have to do with the story?

    • Chris Walters says:

      @Davan: That’s a baby with too much BPA in her system. It’s very tragic.

    • DePaulBlueDemon says:


      The kitten is nursing from a baby bottle. Some “shatter-proof” baby bottles contain BPA.

    • Chairman-Meow says:

      @Davan: What is that cat doing? And what does it have to do with the story?

      (cue spooky music while wiggling my fingers in you face)

      OH NOES!

      That poor harmless kitten is being forced to drink AN ENTIRE BOTTLE FILLED TO THE BRIM WITH BPH!!!1!1!!

      Before it even finished the bottle, THE POOR THING MELTED INTO A PUDDLE OF GREY KITTY GOO !!!11!!!1!

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @Davan: C’mon, use your head. Would you be able to hold a martini glass if you had only paws? Of course he’s going to use a bottle when quaffing his mouse-tini. Sheesh!

  5. floraposte says:

    I snickered at the tag.

  6. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    Chicago’s had detergents with phosphates banned for like three decades (does bad, bad things to the river/sewer system) and that’s never been enforced, so I’d be interested to see if they ever enforced this.

  7. SayAhh says:

    “…but the FDA has so far come down on the side of manufacturers.”

    Yeah. That “wait-and-see” stance served them REALLY well on the peanut butter contamination, so why not take a similar stance? Why do recalls at all–when you have to ask manufacturers for permissions, and they’re likely to say no?

    FDA, SEC, FCC… Name three broken bureaus of the government.

  8. Feminist Whore says:

    @Davan: pshh, everyone knows that cats smoke joints.

  9. Plates says:

    This is no doubt just some bit of political theatre to get some corrupt Chicago alderman’s name in the news for not being put on trial for corruption.

    • morgasco says:

      @Plates: I think it’s just a “look over here at my hand so you can’t see how much everything else sucks right now”. Smoke and mirrors baby…

  10. gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

    last summer, we were all stressed about BPA and gas prices
    then the economy happened
    now we’ve apparently solved the economic crisis and can go back to worrying about BPA?

    i think the majority of manufacturers have either completely dropped BPA, or now offer a BPA-free equivalent, so it’s not like consumers don’t have a choice.

    Hey Chicago lawmakers: what is the point of this law? what are you trying to force? [other than positive PR]

    • darkryd says:

      @Gstein: We have a choice? I don’t believe any manufacturers currently advertise two options on their labeling. Hmm – should I get the “with BPA” or the “BPA-free” bottle of water?

      And the point of the law is to ensure safety. What’s wrong with that?

    • oneandone says:

      @Gstein: I haven’t seen any canned goods with “BPA free!” on them. I don’t buy much in cans other than whole tomatoes / diced tomatoes / other tomatoes and I’ll admit that it has me a bit worried. Tomato products are acidic enough to be pulling a lot of the BPA can liner into whatever I’m cooking.

      On the other hand, I’m not concerned enough to start paying lots more for fresh tomatoes at this time of year and peeling them myself. But if someone starts canning BPA-free, they have my business.

  11. Canino says:

    Doesn’t Chicago have…you know…real problems? Problems that don’t involve the chemical makeup of some plastics? Or have they solved all those problems and now they’re getting to the end of their todo list?

    • rpm773 says:

      @Canino: This is a real problem…insofar that the city council doesn’t want to let Bloomberg in NYC or Schwarzenegger in CA beat them to the punch in establishing new “populist” regulations.

      It’s that whole “Second City” hang-up.

  12. Brontide says:

    There is no good science that says that current BPA exposure levels are a harm to humans. Those locations that have banned it’s use have done so out of precaution for infants or because there are safer alternatives available.

    Just more tilting at windmills if you ask me, like the people that attack vaccines while giving their children anything from McDonald’s or letting them watch baby Einstein.

    • Brontide says:

      @snowmoon: Oh hell, the risk of living in Chicago dwarfs, by orders of magnitude, the blown out of proportion risk from normal exposure to BPA

      • utensil42 says:

        @snowmoon: Thank you! Also, the vaccine thing? Yeah, the doctor responsible for the ONLY study to have shown a link between vaccines and autism admitted last week that he falsified the results. Plus, the particular vaccine formula he used in that study hasn’t been used in the population for about 15 years.

    • Javert says:

      @snowmoon: FTW. Thanks snowmoon.

  13. ZekeSulastin says:

    I thought most companies stopped selling BPA-imbued bottles anyways?

  14. edwardso says:

    @Davan: being adoreable

  15. usa_gatekeeper says:

    Forcrissake, even California doesn’t ban lead from everything; they just make suppliers put a strongly worded warning on the package. Wouldn’t this be a fair intermediate step for Chicago to take, before initiating an outright BPA ban?

  16. vladthepaler says:

    How can one tell if there is BPA in something?

  17. Jeff Stier says:

    This is hysteria.
    BPA isn’t making you sick.


  18. jmndos says:

    Wow, chicago, like one of the most corrupt cities in the usa…hell…I know…I live there…wow…surprising…

  19. OrlanthaPolydorus says:

    Chicago got voted the 3rd most miserable city in the Country according for forbes! Ive never lived there but here are some reasons I found by someone who has lived before. Pretty interesting.