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Sieben seeks ban on chemical in children's containers

Sen. Katie Sieben of Cottage Grove speaks in favor of her bill to phase out bisphenol A in children's food packaging on Thursday, Feb. 14. Supporters of her bill say the substance is dangerous. Photo by Don Davis/State Capitol Bureau

A revived movement to keep Minnesota children safe from toxic chemicals is beginning in the Legislature.

Three bills are aimed at removing chemicals such as formaldehyde and bisphenol A from products children use.

"As a mother, I know parents are concerned about the chemicals their kids are exposed to," Sen. Katie Sieben, DFL-Cottage Grove, said Thursday, Feb. 14. "The last thing a parent should have to worry about is harmful chemicals in their kids' food."

"There is nothing we need to do more ... than protect our children," added Rep. John Persell, DFL-Bemidji. "The science is on our side on this."

A bill Persell wrote would ban formaldehyde from children's personal care products. Items that contain formaldehyde include some brands of bubble bath, shampoo and soap.

Bisphenol A, which lawmakers already banned from many products, remains in some baby food jar lids, canned food containers and infant formula cans. Sieben is sponsoring a bill to ban that chemical from children's food containers sold in Minnesota.

Members of the Healthy Legacy coalition say non-toxic products are available to replace those that threaten children's health.

"Giving BPA (bisphenol A) to a child is like giving them a cigarette, but done unintentionally," Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, said.

Persell said many manufacturers are dropping toxic chemicals from children's products on their own. "Industry is being much more responsive."

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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