On the phone with Governor Kitzhaber

Were you on the phone with Governor Kitzhaber last night?

I was. And so were some 3,400 other Oregonians from all over the state. Listen here.

The governor, along with Senators Jason Atkinson (R) and Jackie Dingfelder (D), and Oregon Environmental Council expert Renee Hackenmiller-Paradis, joined a Tele-Town Hall (hosted by OLCV Education Fund) focused on a bill the Oregon Legislature is now considering to ban toxic Bisphenol A from children's food and beverage containers and infant formula cans. Read Senate Bill 695.

Each speaker articulated why it's so important to protect our children from the harmful effects of BPA, and why Oregon can't wait any longer to pass this bill.

Studies show that even  tiny amounts of BPA can mimic a hormone, creating risks for a wide array of health issues, including cancer, obesity, low sperm count, early onset puberty, heart disease, diabetes, liver abnormalities, and even attention deficit disorder. BPA is detected in more than 90 percent of Americans tested. It is particularly harmful to children and pregnant women.

Nine states plus Canada and the European Union have already enacted bans to protect children from exposure to this harmful chemical. In recent years, consumers in the U.S. have demanded safer alternatives, and while the market has responded to a certain extent, we need to make sure that every baby bottle and sippy cup in Oregon is BPA-free.

Both Governor Kitzhaber and Senator Atkinson commented on the environmental justice at stake here. As lower-income shoppers look for baby supplies at dollar stores, for example, don't they have the same right to non-toxic bottles and cups? This legislation, said Governor Kitzhaber, ensures they have that right.

Senator Dingfelder emphasized that we can't wait for the FDA to take action--we have to protect our kids, and we have to do it now.

Dozens of callers lined up in the phone queue to ask questions or express their support of the ban--we ran out of time before we could get to everyone! We heard from Oregonians in Astoria, Grand Ronde, Marcola, Porltand, Springfield, and other places, too. Thank you to everyone who called in!

And big thanks to the governor and senators for championing this important bill.

OLCV is working with OEC and the Oregon Conservation Network to pass this bill. Find out more about what OCN is working on and Take the Pledge to protect our health and our environment during the 2011 Legislative Session.

Find out more about BPA, the bill, and how you can help make sure Oregon takes this important step to protect our children's health on the Oregon Environmental Council's website.

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