The Network has fielded many requests on environmental public health issues over the past year, often from local health departments requesting information and guidance regarding how best to design and enforce legislation. One such request recently came from a county health department that was considering a ban on the sale of products that contain the industrial chemical Bisphenol A, or BPA. Often used in metal or hard plastic items such as baby bottles, BPA has become a health concern after recent studies from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicated that significant exposure may pose health risks to infants and children. While the FDA has yet to restrict the use of BPA because of a lack of clear evidence regarding its risks, many state and local legislatures have enacted provisions to regulate or ban the sale of items that contain BPA, including baby bottles, sippy cups, food storage containers and, most recently, cash register receipts. The health department that contacted the Network specifically requested information on what types of legislation other local governments had put in place in the hopes of using such models to guide the creation of its own ordinance.
The Network responded to the request with a number of resources on BPA legislative approaches across the country. These include a BPA informational page from the National Conference of State Legislatures as well as contact information for a staff member with the Conference. The Network also provided summaries of legislation on BPA by state from the National Law Review and the American Nurses Association. Information on BPA laws in individual states was provided for Wisconsin, Minnesota, Washington, Connecticut and Maryland as well as a link to information on BPA from the environmental health organization Safer States. After sending along these resources, the Network also spoke via telephone with a department environmental policy analyst and assured that the Network would be available to provide continued assistance if necessary. The health department expressed their appreciation for the resources the Network had provided, which helped to reinforce the department’s confidence in the legislation they drafted.
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