AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s ban against products made with the chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA, will take effect on Jan. 1, 2012. Because Gov. Paul LePage has neither signed nor vetoed the measure in the ten days since it garnered near-unanimous support from Maine lawmakers, it will become law 90 days after the legislative session adjourns on June 15.
Under a process laid out by the Maine Board of Environmental Protection and strongly endorsed by the Maine Legislature, manufacturers of reusable food and beverage containers will be prohibited from selling products made with BPA in Maine beginning next January.
Legislators endorsed the ban earlier this month with a unanimous vote in the Senate and a 145-3 vote in the House. The bill then was sent to the governor’s office to be signed by LePage, who had expressed opposition to the measure and drew broad criticism for joking that BPA poses little threat to public health, except possibly promoting the growth of “little beards” on women.
In a growing body of scientific evidence, exposure to BPA is associated with learning disabilities, reproductive disorders, cancer and obesity. Because the chemical can mimic or disrupt hormones, critics claim it is especially dangerous for children.
BPA is used in many manufacturing processes, including products designed for use by children, such as baby bottles and easy-to-hold “sippy cups.” It also is used in the lining of most metal food cans. Studies have shown that the chemical leaches into food and beverages with which it comes in contact.
LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett said Friday that the governor’s office would have no comment on the BPA ban.
BDN reporter Kevin Miller contributed to this story.