Dianne FeinsteinU.S. Senator Class 1
[D] California, United States

Length: 10 minutes, 26 seconds

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Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I rise to speak on the bill before us. But before I do, one thing I was remiss in not doing, listening to Senator Durbin speak about Stan Musial, is pointing out what has happened in San Francisco, and that is that the San Francisco Giants have won the World Series with a team that was just amazing. To see a team, I think, that were essentially outcasts--and some would say misfits--come together, play with teamwork, develop a world-class pitching staff, a defense where double and triple plays would happen, is really quite amazing. I had the pleasure of going to the playoff games during the recess, as well as the World Series games, and it was a very special treat. I wish to offer my commendation to that great team. It was quite wonderful.

Now down to business.

Mr. President, it appears that I will be blocked from offering an amendment on bisphenol A, to the food safety bill. So I come to the floor to express my disappointment and my very serious concern about the continued use of this chemical in children's products.

There is mounting scientific evidence that shows that BPA is linked to harmful health effects. Over 200 scientific studies show that even at low doses, BPA is linked to serious health problems, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, early puberty, behavioral problems, and obesity. I know there is not yet consensus on the science and there is still research to be done. But I also know this chemical is so widespread--it has been found in 93 percent of Americans. I know BPA is thought to alter the way the body chemistry works. Babies and children are particularly at risk because when they are developing, any small change can cause dramatic consequences.

To put it simply, the fact that so many adverse health effects are linked to this chemical, the fact that this chemical is so present in our bodies, and the fact that babies are more at risk from its harmful effects leads me to believe there is no good reason to expose our children to this chemical.

My great concern for its continued use, particularly in children's products, is the reason Senator Schumer, my cosponsor, and I, who introduced a bill a year and a half ago--why he and I have been willing to compromise, to be flexible, and to try to work out an agreement to move this forward. For 7 months, we have been negotiating with Senator Enzi, the distinguished ranking member handling this bill on the floor, hoping for a compromise that would enable this amendment on BPA to be placed in the food safety bill. It looks as if there will not be amendments; therefore, I have no opportunity to offer an amendment.

But last evening at about 6:15, Senator Enzi and I reached an agreement which would ban the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups within 6 months of the enactment of this legislation. It would require that the FDA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to issue a revised safety assessment on BPA by December 1, 2012--this is important because it would make certain the date that the FDA has to assess the safety of BPA. And third, it would include a savings clause to allow States to enact their own legislation.

I wish to thank the ranking member for his agreement. It meant a great deal to me. I thought, aha, we are really close to making a beginning step on this problem. Unfortunately, today it became clear that the American Chemistry Council has blocked and obstructed this agreement from being added to the food safety bill. Therefore, language cannot be in the bill. I regret that the chemical lobby puts a higher priority on selling chemicals than it does on the health of infants. I am stunned by this.

This agreement was but a small step forward, a simple movement to ban BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, a simple move to protect children.

All it did was ban BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups until the FDA's safety assessment could be revised. The [Page: S7941] chemical lobby came in at the 11th hour opposing this ban, which is something my colleagues on the other side of the aisle had agreed to.

Now, because of this, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle are pulling their support. My goodness. This is so simple. How can anybody put a priority on selling chemicals above the health of infants? Major manufacturers and retailers are already phasing out BPA from their food and beverage products for children. So why should this be stopped? The products used to give food and drink to children all have safe alternative BPA packaging available. At least 14 manufacturers have already taken action against BPA. Here they are: Avent, Born Free, Disney First Years, Evenflo, Gerber, Dr. Brown's, Green to Grow, Klean Kanteen, Medala, Nuby Sippy Cups, Munchkin, Playtex, Thinkbaby, Weil Baby. All these manufacturers are taking BPA voluntarily out of their baby bottles and sippy cups, but we cannot get it into a simple bill.

Retailers are taking actions not to sell these products with BPA in them: CVS, Kmart, Kroger, Rite Aid, Safeway, Sears, Toys ``R'' Us and Babies ``R'' Us, Walmart, Wegmans, and Whole Foods have already taken this action.

I ask unanimous consent that the list be printed following my remarks.