What I told my state senate about BPA
It wasn't that long ago that my frustration over bad public policies was mostly heard by my husband (patient soul) and the 4 walls of my kitchen. Then I started blogging about it, any my audience expanded (and I felt better!). It never really crossed my mind back then that I'd wind up testifying in my state legislature.
But testify I did.
And while my main reason in writing today is to share my testimony, I'm also thrilled to report that a passionate mom with next to no political experience (that's me) can get in there and make a difference. The more mothers who let our state and federal legislators know which policies are working for us and which ones aren't, the better. For everyone.
Here's what I said last week to support a phase-out of BPA in young children's food & drink containers in Oregon:
"Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today to show my strong support for Oregon Senate Bill 1032. I’m thrilled that my state is among those stepping up to protect its children from this toxic chemical.
My name is Lisa Frack. I am an Oregonian and a parent of two children under 7, both native Oregonians. Coleman (who is 7) and Georgia (she’s 3) were almost certainly born with BPA in their bodies and further contaminated in their earliest years by drinking from tainted polycarbonate baby bottles and sippy cups and eating canned foods. That I fed them.
Our toxics laws have failed them, and failed me as a parent whose highest purpose is the health and safety of my children. Which is why I am here today.
As you’ve no doubt heard, the science around BPA is more solid every day. We all know it’s in us, there’s no question about that anymore. And while some (amazingly) continue to question its health effects, they must not be looking at the mounting scientific evidence. I’m hardly alone in feeling frustrated that my kids continue to be guinea pigs while the government and industry duke it out and do more studies. We don’t need more studies, we need common sense health protective policies that put children first.
Meanwhile, we parents are left holding the bag. In January, the US FDA concluded that it had “some concern” about BPA and actually advised parents to take steps to minimize exposures. As you might imagine, identifying what does and doesn’t contain BPA is no easy feat – especially in the grocery store aisle with 2 little kids in the cart. I want to buy food and drinks for my kids without wondering if the container is toxic. I bet retailers would be thrilled if we parents would stop asking a million questions and start buying what’s on their shelves again. Especially in this economic climate - they need our trust, because they need our business.
And I don’t know about you, but the fact that the FDA assigned the very same level of concern to fetal exposure to amphetamines as they did to BPA alarms me as a parent, and makes it clear how badly SB 1032 is needed, because right here in Salem is where my children are going to be protected. Isn’t it?
In closing, I want to leave you with another parent’s perspective. Last night I mentioned to her that I’d be here today, and here’s what she said,
“I knew BPA was bad a long time ago, but my husband kept saying if it were, the government would protect us.”
Well it is bad, and the government hasn’t protected us. Yet.
I’m here to ask you to change that by passing this bill. Thank you.