In last week’s edition of Roll Call, you might have noticed the “Make Me BPA Free” advertisement. (If not, click here!) The ad is part of an effort to raise awareness about addressing Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure in the Senate Food Safety Modernization Act. First Focus proudly joined a diverse coalition of advocates, including the Breast Cancer Fund, Consumers Union, the Steelworkers and Blue Green Alliance, NRDC, Environmental Working Group, US PIRG and the American Nurses Association in sponsoring the ad.

BPA is an endocrine disruptor, which can mimic the body’s own hormones and may lead to negative health effects. It is commonly found in many household plastic products, including baby bottles. A number of prominent researchers have identified a constellation of disturbing and potent effects of BPA, including changes in neural and behavioral functioning in fetuses, infants and children, as well as possible developmental effects on the prostate gland, mammary gland, and earlier onset of puberty in girls.

Importantly, children are found to have the highest levels of BPA exposure, followed by teens and adults. Also, we have reason to believe that exposure to infants and toddlers may be much higher given that many are fed milk in polycarbonate bottles which have been warmed and heat increases the rate of BPA leaching. Baby formula is another likely source of BPA given potential leaching from formula cans.

Senator Feinstein has introduced an amendment to the Senate Food Safety bill which would ban BPA from infant food packaging. Both the Food Safety bill and Senator Feinstein’s amendment are currently stalled because Senator Coburn is threatening to put a “hold” on the bill given his concerns about the lack of financial offsets. Given the few legislative days left before the Senate leaves for the campaign trail, it is unlikely that the Food Safety bill will come to the floor before recess. If it doesn’t get floor time before recess, there is a good chance that the Senate will address the food safety bill during the lame duck session after the election and before Congress adjourns for the year.

Click here to view the Ad.