FDA to Rule on BPA Use in Food and Drink Packaging
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it will decide whether to ban bisphenol A (BPA) in food and beverage packaging by March 31, 2012.
The FDA's announcement was instigated by a lawsuit from the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), which claimed that the FDA was deliberately delaying a ruling on BPA, which has been linked to cancer, hormone imbalances and other developmental disorders. The NRDC had petitioned the FDA to investigate the dangers of the chemical in 2008, and when the agency failed to do that, NRDC sued them. March's decision, set by a court order, will resolve the lawsuit.
BPA is primarily used to make polycarbonate plastics, and is also frequently used in the lining of food and drink containers, like aluminum cans for soda and canned foods. In January 2010, the FDA supported a resolution to remove BPA from the plastics used to make baby bottles, and in May of that year FDA scientists tested 78 canned foods and found 71 of them contained detectable levels of the chemical.
Sports bottles historically have included BPA either in the polycarbonate plastics themselves or in the lining of aluminum bottles, meaning a ban on the chemical could have an impact on the promotional products industry. However, for several years many industry suppliers have voluntarily made BPA-free drinkware.
"We listened to the marketplace three years ago when it indicated that BPA was no longer acceptable in sports bottles," said Larry Whitney, manager, trade compliance for New Kensington, Pennsylvania-based Leed's. "As a result, we re-designed our entire drinkware line to utilize alternate materials that are BPA-free."
"Whether the FDA ends up banning it or not in March is irrelevant to us. PCNA, and all responsible suppliers, have already addressed BPA in their products," he added.