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Regulation of the Day 191: Sippy Cups

Children are messy. That’s why Richard Belanger, one of mankind’s unsung heroes, invented the sippy cup. By taking advantage of surface tension, liquid won’t spill out even if the cup is held upside down.  Even the most determined toddler has a hard time making a mess.

Then came the lawyers.

New York’s state legislature just passed a bill requiring warning labels to be put on all sippy cups sold in the state. It isn’t because sippy cups are dangerous. They don’t have sharp edges. They aren’t toxic. Nor are they a choking hazard. No, it’s because sometimes parents sometimes fill sippy cups with liquids that contain sugar, such as fruit juice. The labels warn that giving your child such drinks will cause tooth decay.

A similar bill passed last year, but fell victim to then-Gov. David Paterson’s veto pen. Current Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s stance on sippy cup policy is unknown. He will see some interest group pressure, though:

"I can show you photos of children who go to bed with sippy cups," said Mark Feldman, executive director of the state Dental Association, which pressed for the bill.

"All you see is little black stumps that is all that is left of the teeth," he added.

And I can show you a busybody who spends entirely too much time worrying about other people’s children. If his strongest argument is anecdotal hyperbole (possibly photoshopped?), then his case is weak indeed.

Either that, or the ADA felt the need to have a legislative accomplishment to brag about in its newsletter to prove its clout.