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BPA ban gets OK from Schenectady County legislature

On Tuesday, Aug. 11, the Schenectady County Legislature voted to ban children's beverage containers containing a chemical called Bisphenol A, otherwise known as BPA, from store shelves within the county.

The law, approved unanimously with one legislator absent, was introduced by legislator Angelo Santabarbara, R-Rotterdam, and co-sponsored by Dr. Brian Gordon, D-Niskayuna.

BPA is a chemical used in the manufacturing of plastics and is found in a variety of everyday items, including water bottles, food and drink packaging, food can linings, dental sealants, Cds, DVDs, eyeglasses and automobiles.

According to the organization Clean New York, BPA has been known since the 1930s to mimic estrogen. In recent decades, scientists have documented health problems amongst their subjects, including animals ranging from mice to rats to primates. The health effects identified through research include infertility, obesity, diabetes, breast cancer, damage to the brain, ADHD and behavioral challenges, as well as prostate cancer.

As a nurse, I've seen an increase in diseases that are environmental in origin: cancer, birth defects, asthma, etc., said Joan Sheehan, a nurse and vice-president of the Capital Region Against Breast Cancer, during the public hearing.

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure," said Sheehan, commending the Legislature for taking on this issue.

Brian McGarry, who is running for a seat on the Rotterdam Town Council on the GOP line, spoke in opposition of the bill.

"This seems to be more of an issue for a federal decision, not a local one," said McGarry. "With the county legislators saying this is a bad product to be in food products, sippy cups, etc., parents will be afraid to buy these products for fear of these products causing autism," he said, adding that "complete review of scientific data has been conducted by scientific and government bodies worldwide," and that they have concluded that BPA safe to use.

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