Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bisphenol-A and Phthalates

The Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG) has contacted my office, along with the Mayor's office, asking the City to ban children's products containing Bisphenol-A and certain phthalates, as San Francisco has done, in order to build momentum for possible future statewide and nationwide bans. My office has also received constituent correspondence on this matter. San Francisco took a similar action in 2006, California recently banned some phthalates in children's toys, and the European Union has banned three phthalates in toys and child-care products since 2005.

There is a range of options the City could pursue towards the long term goal of eliminating these toxins from the environment, including, but not limited to: passing a resolution against these toxins, calling for the legislature to ban them and retailers to voluntarily phase them out; banning these toxins in certain products; banning these toxins in certain products pending statewide action or at some point in the future; requiring labeling of products containing these toxins. It almost goes without saying, but for legal and practical reasons, the City's capacity to enact a full ban may well be limited.

I, along with Health, Energy and Environment Committee Chair, Scott Benson, have asked the Citizen's Environmental Advisory Committee and Public Health Advisory Committee to provide us with input on these options and the broader issues surrounding these chemicals.

For more information on this campaign and the chemicals in question, please see the following resources:

MPIRG "Detox MN" campaign homepage.

MPIRG Fact Sheet.

Harper's article 'Toxic Inaction.'

Alaska Community Action on Toxics fact sheet on Bisphenol-A and phthalates.
USA Today article 'Everywhere chemicals in plastics alarm parents.'
Time Magazine article 'What's Toxic in Toyland.'
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy Smart Plastics Guide: Healthier Food Uses of Plastics.

San Francisco ordinance.


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