Maryland’s Howard County Health Department has taken the step of providing only bisphenol A-free products to its WIC (Woman’s, Infants and Children) Program. WIC provides supplies and supplemental foods to low-income pregnant women, new mothers, infants and children under the age of 5. According to Maryland Med, Dr. Peter Beilensen, Howard County’s top health official “hopes to turn BPA into another trans fat: legal but largely shunned by the public.”
As far as I can tell this is one of the first WIC programs in the country to take a firm stand on BPA. But here’s the $64,000 question: Will the Howard County Department of Health restrict infant formulas packaged in BPA lined containers? And if you’re going to be BPA-free, how free do you need to be?
While I respect Dr. Beilensen’s stand on the issue, his department’s broad statement on BPA is as likely to fuel public hysteria as it is to positively influence the indigent children of Howard County. And while I agree with their policy as it pertains to bottles, their commitment to go BPA-free will need to address the issue of when, where and how much is too much (aka, the packaging issue) as well as the real risk of non-oral exposure. And he will inevitably need to explain to the citizens of Howard County that there are more questions to be answered before public health policy can be chiseled in stone.