The Shattering Effects of the Bias Against Bisphenol

James Lileks reporting in The Bleat on the consequences of the anti-BPA  campaigns, litigation, legislation, hysteria:

Got up to get out, fetched 3 girls from the summer day-camp on the other side of town. I asked one of the counselors if my daughter could have a new water bottle with the camp logo, since she’d dropped hers and it had shattered. She said yes – in fact, they were all breaking, and had to be replaced. “We switched to a different kind of plastic because the parents worried that the other plastic gave you cancer,” she said. “But they all broke.”

Now why is that?

Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, writing at, “The Latest Toxin Activists Want to Ban”:

The “toxin du jour” these days is bisphenol A, otherwise known as BPA. Environmental activists claim BPA harms babies as it dissolves out of the sides of baby bottles and sippy cups, causing everything from cancer to learning disabilities and even obesity. Spurred by consumer groups, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal wants Coca-Cola, Del Monte and other companies investigated for trying to stop anti-BPA legislation.

In fact, BPA has been used safely for about 60 years to make plastic bottles hard and shatter-proof, for the coatings of metal food containers and even in cellphones and medical devices. Nonetheless, the California Senate recently passed a law to ban the sale of sippy cups and baby bottles that contain BPA, and Chicago recently banned such products from city shelves.

More from Canada’s Financial Post, “Junk Science Week: Case of chemophobia” from S. Robert Lichter and Trevor Butterworth of George Mason University’s Statistical Assessment Service. In the U.S. Senate, Sen. Chuck Schumer has sponsored S. 753, the BPA-Free Kids Act.

There’s a buck to be made, though. On TV these days, you may find yourself watching ads for the EcoCanteen, a stainless steel water bottle that uses fear of BPA as a major selling point. The company has been lambasted at consumer websites such as The Greenest Dollar for “shady customer service, high fees, and aggressive upselling.” Well, that fits the whole BPA scare/litigation model, doesn’t it?

P.S. Have to mention Lileks’ punchline, responding to the camp counselor: “Wanted to say ‘yes, we were having a white-lead gargling contest last night, and the bottles leaked everywhere.'”

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