by Robin E. Johnson, MD, MPH

For decades, California has been on the forefront of protecting its residents from environmental and health hazards, but where do we stand now? Last week, the President’s Cancer Panel released a groundbreaking report, urging the President to: “…remove the carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water, and air that needlessly increase healthcare costs, cripple our nation’s productivity, and devastate American lives.” (Read the full report [pdf])

As a physician in LA county I’ve seen firsthand what this report highlights — the disproportionate burden of disease in communities with more environmental hazards.

The synthetic estrogen bisphenol A, or BPA is singled out in this report – it gets into our food and drink by leaching out of plastic baby bottles, sippy cups, sports water bottles, and the linings of food and drink cans. BPA is linked to hyperactivity, autism, early onset puberty, breast and prostate cancer, and the panel recommends avoiding it.

Six states and two other countries have already protected their children from BPA, but given the chance thus far, California has failed to act. BPA-free bottles are manufactured by nearly all major bottle manufacturers, yet in communities where consumers are unaware of the health concerns, BPA-laden bottles are still being sold. Isn’t it time our legislators step in and make sure ALL of California’s communities have equal access to safer products?

As a physician and public health professional, I’m letting the State Assembly know they have a unique opportunity act on the recommendations of this report right now. Support SB797, the Toxic Free Infants and Toddlers Act to remove BPA from California’s children products.

Read related articles: