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News from around Wisconsin (10:56 p.m. 2/16/10)

Wisconsin moves to ban BPA in children’s cups

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A bill that would ban manufacturers from using a potentially dangerous chemical in cups used by young children is on its way to Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle.

The Assembly on Tuesday voted 95-2 for a bill banning bisphenol A from baby bottles and cups intended for children under age 3. The Senate passed the same proposal last month, and the governor is expected to sign it into law.

BPA is an industrial chemical widely used in plastic food and beverage containers that some scientists have linked to a series of negative health effects, including cancer and heart disease.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, the six major makers of baby bottles and infant feeding cups no longer use BPA in those products in the U.S.

Connecticut and Minnesota passed similar laws last year.

Body pulled from Mississippi in La Crosse

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) — Searchers in La Crosse have pulled a body from the Mississippi River near where a college student disappeared a few days earlier.

The La Crosse Tribune reports that police have not confirmed the identity of the body, which was pulled from the river just before 5 p.m. Tuesday. But the spot is very close to where they believe Craig Meyers fell into the river early Sunday.

Meyers is a 21-year-old criminal justice student at Western Technical College and a former state champion wrester in West Salem. Police said security video from a business showed someone who looks like Meyers walking alone in the downtown area shortly before he disappeared.

A bloodhound had led searchers to the nearby river on Monday. Fire division chief Mike Jorgenson said there were areas of thin ice on the river not far from shore.

Information from: La Crosse Tribune,

Report: Wisconsin 2nd in nation in organic farms

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Wisconsin leads the U.S. in the sale of organically produced cranberries and beef cows and is second in the number of organic farms, according to a federal summary released Tuesday.

However, the state’s organic farms are smaller on average than similar ones in other states, so Wisconsin is only sixth in total organic sales.

The report, produced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, quotes numbers from 2008, the most current information available.

Wisconsin had 1,222 organic farms that year, and most of their revenue came from the sale of organic cow milk. California had more than twice as many organic farms, or 2,714, with many of those focused on the production of fruits and vegetables.

To get a USDA-certified organic label, growers have to adhere to strict regulations that prohibit the use of chemicals.

For example, fertilizer can be manure-based but not chemical-based, and the few permissible pesticides are mainly plant-derived. Livestock must be fed organically grown feed and can’t be given hormones. If they’re given antibiotics to treat an illness they can no longer be sold under an organic label.

About two-thirds of Wisconsin’s organic revenue came from cow milk, and a quarter came from crops. The rest came from livestock and poultry.

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