Legislator Jay Schneiderman

Posted on 12 March 2009

The East End Legislator based in Sag Harbor on banning the sale of plastic baby products with the chemical bisphenal A [BPA]. Schneiderman, the dangers of the chemical and what the community can expect next on the county level.


We  learned last week a bill was passed banning the sale of any plastic product for babies containing high levels of BPA- why do you feel this was an important change for the legislature to mandate?

 It is important in general because it is our job as lawmakers to protect the public – to protect public health. There is a growing body of research showing that this chemical is harmful – particularly to infants. And there are many alternatives. It’s not necessary to have bisphenal A, although the industry may think it is, there are plenty of alternatives and stores are already marketing BPA-free bottles.

I think the public has moved in the direction against this risk factor. I think we did the right thing by saying that you are not going to sell these bottles – baby bottles and sippy cups – that contain BPA.


What happens when the bottle is heated and what dangers are posed to infants because of this?

What happens when you heat these bottles up? It [BPA} is released into the milk in the bottle and it can affect brain development and it can cause tumors. There is enough research out there, but the industry will beg to differ. All the impartial studies that I’ve seen all say that the risk is too great to continue to allow this chemical to be used. BPA mimics estrogen and gets into the hormone system of infants and causes developmental problems. 


How are officials planning to get these items off the shelves of national retail chains in Suffolk County and how is the county going to implement that?

 Well, that certainly is an interesting question – because what happens to the inventory that they have? And I’m not sure how that is going to be addressed. I suppose they could move it into other stores in other counties - though I think this prohibition ought to be expanded statewide as well as nationwide. So I think it is only a matter of time, but I think the FDA is moving fairly slow.


Do you know of any other countries or places in the world that have also banned this?

 Canada. They did it not through legislative action, but as regulatory action - through their equivalent to the FDA. I think that will eventually happen here too.


Do you know of any national retailers that already stopped selling plastics with BPA?

I think a lot of them now, some of the Walmarts, King Kullen, some of the bigger stores. You will see bottles that say BPA-free. The educated public is looking for them. That’s what challenges [retailers]. The consumer is going to demand BPA-free bottles.


For a consumer looking at a product that doesn’t have a label indicating a BPA-free plastic – how can a customer know that there is BPA in the product?

I don’t think there are any requirements to list it. You’ll know in a few months when this law takes effect that you can buy that bottle in Suffolk County it’s BPA-free – because that is the only way that you will be able to tell.


What about those plastics bottles that have numbers listed on the bottom inside recycling symbols?

Yes, good point, I know plastic bottles with the number seven contain BPA – you can tell by the number. I remember that number seven has BPA, but if you went online you can find out. Those large Poland Spring water bottles that go into water coolers – those have BPA. It is more of a risk if the bottle is heated up or left in the sun – those chemicals can leach out. The problem is larger for infants because they are still developing. This law only affects infant bottles.


So what is the next step?

Well we already had the public hearing so now the county executive has to sign it. Then I have to look and see when the effective date is.

But I do think there may be litigation. I wouldn’t be surprised if the industry decided to sue over this.


Are there any other laws you are working on that look out for the safety of adults and children?

I probably will resubmit the pesticide law.

I may change it slightly, but the basic idea would be to prevent pesticides containing certain toxins being used for aesthetic purposes. So, for the pure purpose of a green law, you wouldn’t be able to put toxins on it or reproductive toxins or suspected carcinogens. I don’t know if this bill will ever get passed, people love their green lawns. But it is about time we look out for our children’s health before our green lawns. I’m not giving up and I may tighten it up a bit but that is the main purpose of the bill – that you cannot put toxins in the environment. It would be different if you were killing rats or something but if you are doing it just for aesthetics, that is not a good enough reason to introduce toxins into the environment in a county where the cancer rate is higher than the national average. And until we figure out what is going on – we should be doing everything we can to prevent unnecessary exposure to toxins. 



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2 Responses to “Legislator Jay Schneiderman”

  1. john says:

    I think if we really want to do something to benifit, the public how about these bank fees that are outright crule to people .With all the people out off work,to charge 25 to 35 dollars at at a time when people can’t put food on the table and the people at the top are making pig bucks is sick and what about the elderly which we pretend to care so much about, who may have just one income like social security. To take 30 dollars off of these people your really hurting them.My question here is with all these millions billions and the government giving away what amounts to trillions. why are people on SS with only one income paying taxes at all? One of the reasons we have so many proplems today is that we as a socity have become such scumbags, we can’t feel or don’t care about the suffering of others .So if we can’t solve little problems like this then even with people like Obama we won’t solve the big problems so things will just keep getting worse

  2. Ejh says:

    Good for you Jay Schneiderman, while I generally do not agree with product regulation at the county level of government, you are a good man and a great representative. Therefore, we trust your judgement.

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