Environmental Working Group (EWG): No Show Legislators Help Chemical Lobby Defeat Bans on Toxic Food Contaminants

August 19, 2008
11:30 AM

CONTACT: Environmental Working Group (EWG)
EWG Public Affairs, (202) 667-6982

No Show Legislators Help Chemical Lobby Defeat Bans on Toxic Food Contaminants
Assembly Will Have Second Chance to Protect Children, Public Health
WASHINGTON - August 19 - Last night, more than a dozen members of the state assembly took a dive for the chemical industry and missed two critical votes on measures to remove toxic chemicals from food packaging and some infant products. As a result of those missed votes both bills went down in defeat, handing a last-minute victory to an army of well-heeled chemical company lobbyists.

The measures would have banned two notoriously toxic chemicals PFOA, a key ingredient of Teflon, and BPA, from food containers and packaging, including infant sippie cups and baby bottles.

"We will do our best to make sure that every parent in California, including tens of thousands of our supporters, knows that a small group of California assembly members took a dive yesterday for the chemical industry," said Ken Cook, President of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which sponsored both bills.

"These assembly members skipped votes that would have protected infants and children from toxic industrial chemicals that are so pervasive they contaminate babies in the womb," Cook observed.

"Wal-Mart and Burger King do a better job protecting Californians from these chemicals that the California legislature," noted Cook, referring to the companies respective decisions to eliminate BPA from baby bottles and PFOA from food wraps.

Senate bill 1713 by Sen. Carol Migden of San Francisco, would ban bisphenol A from baby bottles and other products. Laboratory studies show the chemical harms brain development. Migden's measure failed on a 27-31 vote when 22 legislators abstained from voting.

Senate Bill 1313, by Sen. Ellen Corbett of San Leandro, would have banned the chemical PFOA from food packaging, which has been identified as a likely human carcinogen. It fell five votes short of the 41 needed with 11 members of the Assembly not voting.

EWG is a nonprofit research organization with offices in Washington, DC and Oakland, Ca. that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment.