By Delthea Ricks
Gov. David A. Paterson has signed two laws affecting what babies put into their mouths and where they sleep.
Paterson approved the measure banning the sale of baby bottles, sippy cups, pacifiers and other products containing the plasticizing agent Bisphenol-A. He also signed into law a measure that does away with drop-side cribs.
The State Legislature unanimously passed the Bisphenol-A-Free Children and Babies Act at the end of June. The law makes New York the ninth - and largest - state to bar products containing BPA that are aimed at youngsters. It takes effect Dec. 1.
Last year, Suffolk became the nation's first jurisdiction to ban BPA-containing baby bottles and sippy cups when County Executive Steve Levy signed an anti-BPA law. Three other New York counties quickly followed. Other states with similar bans include Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Illinois, Washington, Wisconsin and Vermont.
"This is a historic win for the families of New York State," said Karen Joy Miller, head of the Breast Cancer Action Coalition in Huntington, who has advocated against BPA-containing products for more than a decade.
Miller opposes the use of BPA because it is an estrogen-mimicking compound. It is used in production of epoxy resins and is the key chemical in hard polycarbonate plastics. Some studies have linked BPA to breast cancer and other malignancies.
Experts, however, remain divided over whether BPA causes harm, and a number of other investigations are raising questions.
Assemb. Steven Englebright (D-Setauket), author of the state measure, credited environmental activists with helping bar BPA in children's products. "The advocates played a powerful role in the passage of this highly significant legislation," he said.
The bill outlawing drop-side cribs comes after several child deaths, said state Sen. Charles Fuschillo (R-Merrick) the bill's sponsor. In the Assembly, it was sponsored by Ginny Fields (D-Oakdale). It will go into effect in 90 days.
Fuschillo said more than 9 million of the cribs have been recalled nationwide because of the danger of entrapment and suffocation if the drop-rail malfunctions. "Any product designed for children that can kill or injure a child does not belong on store shelves," he said. Both Nassau and Suffolk banned drop-side cribs last year. With Deborah S. Morris.