• Bisphenol A (BPA). There are conflicting reports on what, if any, effect this chemical compound could have on consumers, yet its presence in the lining of plastic water bottles and like items is causing at least a modicum of concern worldwide. In an unprecedented move this past April, Canada became the first country to ban BPA in baby bottles, according to The Washington Post. The article reported the decision was based on 150 worldwide studies, as explained by Canada’s minister of health, Tony Clement. Conversely, in an antithetical July 2008 story from Reuters, BPA was deemed safe for humans by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).
Currently, the Food and Drug Administration has taken a similar stance to the EFSA, issuing statements that BPA is not a health hazard. Yet,
caution reigns supreme. As of this April, the FDA has formed a task force to review studies and research on BPA. According to its Web site: “Based on our ongoing review, we believe there is a large body of evidence that indicates that FDA-regulated products containing BPA currently on the market are safe and that exposure levels to BPA from food contact materials, including for infants and children, are below those that may cause health effects.” The evaluation is still in progress but certain suppliers are pre-
emptively removing BPA from various lines. President and CEO of Indianapolis-based Norwood Promotional Products, Paul Lage, said, “Although the FDA has authorized the use of BPA in polycarbonate water bottles, we have switched to alternate BPA-free materials for these products going forward.”
• Phthalates. Though
they’re not a major discussion point in the industry (yet),
phthalates—described by Lage as compounds that make plastic softer and more durable—are banned in the new CPSC reform laws. But unsurprisingly, California had already beaten the federal government to the punch. Last year, the state banned the sale, distribution and/or manufacture of children’s products with more than 1/10 of 1 percent of phthalates, beginning in 2009, USA Today reported. Lage explained further: “California and some other states have or are about to adopt new laws prohibiting six types of phthalates in certain children’s products.”