A bill to ban the chemical bisphenol-A from baby bottles and infants' cups passed its final hurdle in the General Assembly on Thursday.
The Senate passed the BPA bill 46-0, after the House passed an identical bill last week. Gov. Martin O'Malley hasn't reviewed the legislation, but a spokesman said he doesn't believe the governor would have objections. If the bill is signed, Maryland would become the fourth state to ban the chemical linked to developmental problems in young children, reproductive troubles in women and other diseases.
The legislation would go into effect in 2012.
Consumer groups and some lawmakers have been sounding the warning about BPA for years, and the effort received a boost last month when officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reversed an earlier position and said they had concerns about its safety.
A multiagency task force plans to spend the next 18 to 24 months conducting more research and recommends consumers avoid BPA in the meantime.
Many states decided to move ahead with legislation aimed at what's considered the most vulnerable population, according to the lead sponsors in Maryland, Del. James W. Hubbard, a Prince George's County Democrat and Sen. Brian Frosh, a Montgomery County Democrat.
"Baby bottles and sippy cups are one of the greatest sources of exposure to BPA for our little ones, and we commend the Maryland General Assembly for protecting our children from its toxic effects," said Jenny Levin, environmental health associate for the consumer group Maryland PIRG.
BPA is used in many plastic food containers and the linings of metal cans, as well as some water bottles and retail receipts. Several manufacturers and retailers have stopped making and selling products with BPA.