Which states protect consumers against BPA? Here is the complete list.
The U.S. is behind Europe and China when it comes to federal regulation of some harmful chemicals. BPA is one such chemical, where the U.S. has no blanket ban on the hormone-disrupting chemical or its analogs.
In the absence of federal legislation, several states brought in policies to regulate BPA themselves. These policies often also regulate phthalates and chemical flame retardants. For a full roster of these regulations, check out SaferStates.org.
Which states have banned BPA?
More than 30 states and local government have brought in policies restricting the production, use, and distribution of BPA. Some also include restrictions on alternatives to BPA, such as BPS and BPF, but such policies are far less common.
Minnesota was the first state to ban BPA in any product (in 2009). Connecticut quickly followed suit, banning BPA in reusable food and beverage containers, infant formula, and in baby food containers.
At the time of writing, the following states have enacted the following regulations for BPA:
|State||Policy||What it does|
|California||AB 1319||Bans BPA in bottles and sippy cups, requires replacement with least toxic alternative. (Adopted in 2011)|
|Connecticut||6572||Bans BPA in reusable food and beverage containers, infant formula or baby food containers (Adopted in 2009)|
|Connecticut||SB 210||Establishes a first-in-the-nation ban on BPA in thermal receipt paper, and also requires the Chemical Innovations Institute to annually develop a list of chemicals of high toxic concern. (Adopted in 2011)|
|Delaware||SB 70||Bans baby bottles and sippy cups containing BPA. (Adopted in 2011)|
|Illinois||SB 2950||Bans children’s food or beverage container that contains bisphenol A (BPA). (Adopted in 2012)|
|Illinois||HB 2076||Prohibits the manufacture, distribution, or use of paper containing bisphenol A for the making of business or banking records (Adopted in 2019)|
|Maine||Board of Environmental Protection||Designates BPA as a priority chemical, requires makers of BPA-containing formula and baby food containers, and children’s toys and products, to report on usage, and plan for its replacement. Bans BPA from reusable food and beverage containers, and formula and baby food packaging. (Adopted in 2013)|
|Maine||LD 412||Bans BPA in baby bottles, sippy cups and reusable food and beverage containers. (Adopted in 2011)|
|Maine||LD 902||Designates BPA as a priority chemical. (Adopted in 2013)|
|Maryland||HB 33 / SB 213||Bans BPA in child care articles, requires replacement with the least toxic alternative. (Adopted in 2010)|
|Maryland||SB 151||Bans BPA in infant formula cans. (Adopted in 2011)|
|Minnesota||SF 373||Prohibits the manufacture, distribution and use of food packaging containing PFAS chemicals, phthalates, or bisphenols.|
|Minnesota||HF 459 / SF 379||Bans BPA from formula and children’s food containers, specifies it not be replaced with a chemical known or suspected to cause harm. (Adopted in 2013)|
|Minnesota||SF0247 / HF0326||Bans BPA in sippy cups. (Adopted in 2009)|
|Nevada||AB 354||Bans BPA from bottles, sippy cups, and formula and kids’ food containers. (Adopted in 2013)|
|New York||A 6919-D / S 3296||Bans BPA from children’s products, allows for BPA-free products to be labeled as such. (Adopted in 2010)|
|Vermont||S 247||Bans BPA from formula and baby food jars, as well as all reusable food and beverage containers. (Adopted in 2010)|
|Virginia||HB 640||Prohibits the manufacture and sale of any liquid food or beverage container containing BPA.|
|Washington||SB 6248||Bans BPA from children’s food and beverage containers (other than metal cans) and all reusable water bottles. (Adopted in 2010)|
|Washington||HB 1194 / SB 5135||Directs the Department of Ecology to identify and take regulatory action on consumer products that are a significant source of chemicals that are a concern for sensitive populations and species. Prioritizes PCBs, PFAS, organohalogen flame retardants, phthalates, and phenolic compounds (BPA, APEs) for initial consideration. (Adopted in 2019)|
|Wisconsin||S 271||Bans BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups, requires them to be labled BPA-free. (Adopted in 2010)|
Most states that have brought in policies restricting BPA have focused on BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. A handful of states also banned BPA in infant formula cans and jars of baby food. More proactive states took the step of banning BPA in water bottles and thermal receipt paper.
As well as state policies, some counties (including Albany, Schenectady and Suffolk in New York, and Multnomah in Oregon) and cities (notably, Chicago) brought in regulations regarding BPA in food packaging.
Several states considering BPA regulation
New York is currently considering a bill (S.417) to ban BPA in thermal receipts and to regulate alternative chemicals used to replace BPA. Pennsylvania has a bill (HB 684) working through the House that aims to provide bisphenol A-free container products for infants.
New Jersey has several bills in circulation that address BPA concerns. One bill, A 2064, aims to prohibit the sale and distribution of infant products containing BPA. Others (A 2794 and A 1434) aim to prohibit the use of receipt paper containing BPA.
Some states, including Massachusetts (S.1423), have introduced bills that aim to reduce overall exposure to BPA. If these types of bill pass, they will be more wide-ranging than bans on BPA in receipts and baby products.
The persistent problem of BPA politics
There has been some federal movement on BPA, but not much. For instance, a food additive petition filed by the American Chemistry Council prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups as of December 2012. This was only after manufacturers had already stopped the routine use of BPA in these products. The ban was extended to infant formula packaging in 2013, thanks to a citizen petition filed by then Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA).
Two bills have also been proposed (but neither has been passed) that would have forced manufacturers to disclose the use of BPA in food can linings and more strictly limited BPA and BPA alternatives in food packaging. The first was introduced in 2015 by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). Senate Bill S. 821, also known as the BPA in Food Packaging Right to Know Act, directed the Department of Health and Human Services to re-review the safety of BPA and would have forced manufacturers to include a label on BPA lined containers stating: “This food packaging contains BPA, an endocrine-disrupting chemical, according to the National Institutes of Health.”
In 2016, Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass. and Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y. introduced the “Ban Poisonous Additives (BPA) Act of 2016” into both chambers of Congress. This bill would have given the FDA authority to ban BPA from food packaging outright. It would have also required the FDA to review thousands of other food contact substances for safety, with mandatory periodic reviews of substances that are considered safe for use in food and beverage containers.
Neither bill passed and no additional legislation has been introduced since.
Consumer power around BPA
Despite the lack of federal regulation and robust state legislation, BPA is less common in many products than it once was.
Demonstrating the power of consumer action, many companies have changed their manufacturing processes to eliminate BPA and alternatives. Others have just eliminated BPA but don’t disclose if they use an alternative (and these can be just as harmful as BPA).
The upshot is that consumers do have power. As well as helping to force change on BPA, consumer action can help force companies (and regulators) to rethink the use of ‘forever chemicals’ (PFAS), phthalates, and other toxic chemicals that harm human health and the wider environment.
Steps you can take to eliminate BPA include writing to your legislators, writing to companies that continue to use BPA, and voting with your dollars. That means choosing BPA-free canned goods, for instance.
How to avoid BPA and its analogs
Because BPA is now widespread in the environment, contaminating water, soil, and air, and because current testing is so sensitive as to be able to detect BPA in parts per billion, any company that claims a can is ‘BPA-free’ is playing fast and loose with the term. Sure, one part per billion (ppb) is pretty much the equivalent of a drop of water in an Olympic size swimming pool, but with no current USA standard or acceptable limit of detection for a BPA-free claim, who knows how much BPA is in any given product packaging and/or the product itself.
The best that companies can do is to declare that cans are BPA-Non-Intent (BPA-NI), meaning that no BPA is intentionally used in product package linings.
When looking for products that are truly BPA-free and free from alternative, unassessed, potentially harmful chemicals, the best policy is to ask companies directly. Instead of relying on labels stating what they don’t use, ask what they do use. And if they fail to disclose, shop elsewhere and let them know that you expect greater transparency before sending any of your hard-earned cash their way.