Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle (D) has signed a bill (S.B. 271) that bans bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles and sippy cups for children younger than age 3, joining Minnesota and Connecticut in prohibiting this use of a packaging chemical purportedly linked to developmental problems in young children. The Wisconsin bill, effective June 2010, prohibits the manufacture and sale at wholesale of baby bottles and sippy cups with BPA and requires such bottles and cups to be labeled free of BPA. Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, and Washington, D.C., are also considering BPA legislation.

Meanwhile, the Maryland Senate recently approved a similar bill (S.B. 213), which Governor Martin O’Malley (D) is reportedly expected to sign this spring. The bill, which would take effect in January 2012, would apply to “an empty bottle or cup to be filled with food or liquid that is designed or intended by a manufacturer to be used by a child under the age of 4 years.” It also requires “a person to use the least toxic alternative” when manufacturing bottles or cups for children younger than 4 and forbids manufacturers from replacing BPA with substances rated by the Environmental Protection Agency as Group A, B or C carcinogens or reproductive toxicants. See Product Liability Report 360, February 26, 2010; Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 3, 2010.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.