Maine DEP Reminds Manufacturers Of BPA Ban, Offers Compliance Assistance

August 2, 2011

CONTACT:
Samantha DePoy-Warren, Maine DEP Spokesperson/Director of Education & Outreach samantha.depoy-warren@maine.gov/ 287-5842 (office) or 592-0427 (cell)

-Plans from manufacturers for how they will phase out the sales of their reusable food and beverage containers that include intentionally-added BPA by the January 1, 2012 deadline were due to the department on July 5, yet none have been received-

AUGUSTA – More than two dozen trade groups and manufacturers are receiving letters from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection this week, reminding them of an approaching BPA ban in the state and of the requirement to remit their plans for compliance with the prohibition.

As of January 1, 2012, reusable food and beverage containers like sippy cups, baby bottles, reusable water bottles and plastic food storage that contain intentionally-added BPA will be prohibited from being sold in the state.

Manufacturers and distributors of such products were supposed to submit compliance plans identifying their products subject to prohibition, specifying whether compliance would be achieved by discontinuing sale or by the substitution of a safer alternative and confirming that all personnel who offer the product for sale or distribution in Maine have been notified of the prohibition.

Compliance plans were due on July 5, but Kerri Malinowski, program coordinator of Maine DEP’s Safer Chemicals Program, says the department has yet to receive any, though staff does not definitively know of any company that will be non-compliant.

The one-page mailed advisory –which was sent to manufacturers and national trade associations like the Grocery Manufacturers Association– reminds recipients of the new ban, that they may be effected by it and of available resources for additional information and assistance.

Malinowski said Maine DEP waited to send the letters until an electronic reporting system developed by the department that will make it easier for manufacturers to remit their plans and for the department to receive, review and retain the data went online this week.

“We’re serious about implementing this new regulation and equally so about offering assistance to manufacturers and distributors to ensure that they will be compliant,” Malinowski said. “We see ourselves as partners with the regulated community in this process, and as much as this letter is about reminding them of the ban, it’s also about reassuring them of our commitment to working collaboratively and cooperatively with them to proactively protect public and environmental health.”

Many reusable food and beverage containers that contain intentionally-added BPA have already been removed from the Maine marketplace thanks to consumer demand and heavy press coverage of the pending prohibition.

It’s also likely that some manufacturers are unaware of the ban, which when it goes into effect, will make Maine the ninth state with a prohibition on the sales of products with intentionally-added BPA along with Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin.

“We’re giving companies a fair chance to come into compliance and if we find they haven’t done so by the deadline, we will pursue appropriate enforcement action,” Malinowski added.

Additionally, manufacturers and/or distributors of children's products for sale in Maine including toys and tableware that contain a priority chemical, including BPA, must report to the department, providing a description of their product, the amount of BPA in the product and its function and the number of product units sold in Maine.

Those reports were initially due to the department in early July as well, but the deadline was extended to October 3, 2011 due to the need for additional time necessary for manufacturers and/or distributors to comply with the submission requirements.

For more information about the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s Safer Chemicals Program, visit http://maine.gov/dep/oc/safechem/ or call Program Coordinator Kerri Malinowski at 207-215-1894.

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