U.S. Food and Drug Administration Rejects Request to Ban BPA in Packaging
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected a proposed ban on the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) on Friday. Citing a lack of compelling evidence, the FDA said the did not see a reason to amend regulations of the controversial chemical and suggested it be subjected to continued study.
In a letter to The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the organization that proposed the ban, the FDA said it "has carefully reviewed your citizen petition and has determined that it failed to provide sufficient data and information to persuade the FDA to initiate rulemaking. ... The FDA is denying your citizen petition in its entirety."
Last week's decision was instigated by the NRDC when it filed a lawsuit in 2011 claiming the FDA was deliberately avoiding ruling on the chemical. The NRDC originally requested the agency investigate BPA in 2008, and when that time passed, the lawsuit was filed and the March 31 date set by a judge last December.
"BPA is a toxic chemical that has no place in our food supply," Dr. Sarah Janssen, senior scientist in the public health program at the NRDC, said in a statement. "We believe FDA made the wrong call."
"The agency has failed to protect our health and safety- in the face of scientific studies that continue to raise disturbing questions about the long-term effects of BPA exposures, especially in fetuses, babies and young children," she said.
BPA is a plasticizer used in polycarbonate plastics and in the lining of aluminum cans and plastic bottles. Numerous side-effects have been attributed to BPA exposure, including hormone imbalances and cancer. The chemical is reported to mimic estrogen in human bodies, potentially causing developmental issues in young children.
Since the potential dangers were made public in 2008, most promotional products suppliers and other manufacturers have removed the chemical from their products and now offer BPA-free drinkware and food containers. In 2010, the FDA supported regulations prohibiting the chemical from being used in baby bottles, although its use in sports bottles and other food containers remains unregulated.