New water bottles for everyone!

As expected, the Multnomah County Commission will move forward with a countywide ban on some plastic food and drink containers containing the Bisphenol A, a chemical linked to a number of adult illnesses and developmental problems in infants, and better known as BPA.

A draft of the order names "baby bottles, children's spill proof cups, sippy cups, sports bottles, thermoses," water jugs and cans containing BPA as targets of enforcement, although it will apply to other reusable food containers as well.

The ban will be introduced at the Oct. 18 commission meeting; public testimony will be delivered then and at a second hearing on Oct. 27.

Multnomah County would follow four New York counties and seven states (including California and Washington) in banning BPA. The Oregon Legislature considered but failed to pass a statewide ban this year, leading County Chairman Jeff Cogen to consider a local version.

An issue brief prepared by the county Health Department frames the proposed ban as an equity issue, citing unspecified research that found higher exposures to BPA among blacks and the poor.

According to the brief:

Families in urban low-income communities often rely on small corner markets and dollar stores for various provisions, including infant formula and baby bottles. These stores are less likely to carry affordable Bisphenol A-free products. Statistics show significant disparities in breastfeeding rates by race and income – known as the “milk gap.” Mothers who do not breastfeed rely on baby bottles and formula.

(Emphasis added.)