by E&E Legal Senior Policy Fellow Steve Milloy
As appearing in the Wall Street Journal
California lawmakers seek a ban, based on a scare over BPA that was debunked two decades ago.
Having vanquished plastic straws, the California Legislature is now considering a bill to ban paper cash-register receipts. One reason offered for the ban is to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions. The other is to reduce public exposure to bisphenol A, or BPA, a chemical used to coat receipts.
Whatever one’s opinion about climate science, it’s clear that eliminating the carbon footprint of California’s paper receipts won’t affect the global climate. Some 1,200 new coal plants are being planned or built around the world, and oil and gas production and use are rising through the roof. Even a global ban on paper would have no significant impact on atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels.
The more interesting reason for the ban is the BPA argument, which is part of a broader trend of misuse of science in public policy. The alarm behind the California bill arises from the notion that BPA is an “endocrine disrupter”: a chemical that, even at low doses, can disrupt human hormonal systems. Such disruptions theoretically could cause a variety of ailments, from cancer to reproductive problems to attention-deficit disorder.