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Schenectady County lawmakers consider banning certain containers

Schenectady County Legislator Angelo Santabarbara, R-Rotterdam, introduced legislation Tuesday, March 5, that would ban the sale of children's beverage containers that contain Bisphenol A, or BPA, within the county.

The chemical BPA can mimic estrogen in the body and has been linked to a number of adverse health conditions.

The proposal, called the Protection of Toddlers and Babies Act, is co-sponsored by Schenectady County Legislator Robert Farley, R-Niskayuna.

There are enough things that happen without products and things influencing kids, and if there's anything we can do, I think we should, said Santabarbara.

According to the organization Clean New York, in recent decades, scientists have documented health problems linked to BPA that include infertility, obesity, diabetes, breast cancer, damage to the brain, ADHD and behavioral challenges, as well as prostate cancer.

"This chemical out of which plastics are treated with is a real problem with respect to when it gets heated," said Farley. "It can leach out into the liquids, which becomes a serious problem with respect to infant and toddler products such as sippy cups and baby bottles and things of that nature, which have to be heated and reheated several times."

Farley said that numerous studies have found the chemical to be dangerous to the development of children, and "we have to make sure that these aren't sold in our county."

The legislation's proposal notes that Sen. Charles Schumer and the Suffolk County Legislature have both introduced similar laws to ban BPA from children's products. Several states have also started considering a ban on BPA food and beverage containers and other products that are made for children.

"There's an alternative," said Santabarbara. "There's a better way to do something without potentially bringing some danger to these kids."

Following its introduction at the March 5 Schenectady County Legislature agenda meeting, the proposal will be passed on to the Committee of Health.

"Hopefully it will be discussed at the next agenda meeting. Hopefully I'll get enough support for this," said Santabarbara.

"I look at it as an opportunity for the entire legislature to work together to do something good."

Farley said the measure would protect those most vulnerable in society.

"Obviously government regulation should be done when it can protect health and safety. You don't want to over-regulate, but when it's necessary to protect the health and safety, particularly of babies and children, this is something where we need to bring the attention to the public."

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