Christine Stuart photo

The Coalition for a Safe and Healthy Connecticut was encouraging legislators Tuesday to support a bill, which would phase out the use of Bisphenol A in baby bottles and other children’s products.

“Children are the most vulnerable to toxic chemicals,” Dr. Mary Jane Williams, chairwoman of government affairs for the Connecticut Nurses’ Association, said. She said babies and infants are susceptible to these chemicals because their organs and defense systems are still developing.

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said the scientific evidence is now beyond a doubt. Citing a recent study by the Yale School of Medicine, he said there’s no question about the toxic dangers of Bisphenol A, also known as BPA.

But Blumenthal said he’s not waiting for lawmakers to pass legislation phasing out BPA. “I am writing today to all of the retailers and asking them to remove from their shelves all of the baby bottles containing BPA,” he said.

He said Wal-Mart and Toys R Us already have voluntarily removed baby bottles with BPA from their shelves.

Proponents of the legislation say there is a growing body of research that shows chemicals like Bisphenol A cause reproductive problems, learning disabilities, and long-term health issues like cancer. However, the American Chemistry Council disputes those claims and has concluded Bisphenol A is not a concern for human health.

Rep. Richard Roy, D-Milford, said the chemical industry reminds him of the tobacco industry that for years claimed cigarettes were safe.

When asked about what the coalition sees as its biggest obstacle this year, Sarah Uhl said it’s the chemical industry lobby. She said that last year the industry sent its hired gun lobbyists to kill legislation that phased out lead and asbestos in children’s products and spent a lot of money doing it. She said proponents will be able to overcome similar opposition to legislation against Bisphenol A again this year.

Aside from banning Bisphenol A, this year the coalition also is working on phasing out PBDE’s which are chemical fire retardants found in every day items, phasing out all dangerous chemicals once a safe alternative is available, and expansion of the state’s green cleaning rule to all schools.