by Mick Dumke
On Tuesday a study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that found links between the chemical bisphenol A and health ailments in humans, including heart disease, diabetes, and liver problems. That might be enough to put some life into a proposed ban on children's products containing BPA that's been buried for months in the bowels of the City Council.
"Given the additional information we've received, it's now the appropriate time to move forward and galvanize the political support for it," says First Ward alderman Manny Flores, one of the sponsors of the proposal. "This is a health issue, and that's one of our core responsibilities as a municipality."
Flores and 14th Ward alderman Ed Burke introduced the proposal [PDF]--which would prohibit certain plastic baby bottles, among other items--on May 14, when council business was dominated by a defense of the right to eat foie gras. The next meeting was, by aldermanic decree, all about the children, but the BPA measure remained at rest in the City Council's license and finance committees--even though Burke chairs the latter. Flores says they needed additional evidence to convince other aldermen the ban was important, especially after the federal Food and Drug Administration determined over the summer that BPA was safe--or, more precisely, that "an adequate margin of safety exists."
"People had me down and out on this BPA stuff," Flores says.The council currently has several other proposed bans to consider--on little plastic baggies, aluminum bats, texting while driving, and unruly arts promoters, to name a few--and no hearing on the Flores-Burke ordinance has ever been scheduled. Flores says he's going to push for one.