An Aerial View of BPA: Where Are We Since the Rejected Ban?

krossbow/CC BY 2.0

BPA is the chemical that just won’t melt back into the background--too many people have chosen sides on the issue. It’s a controversial industrial chemical that has been used since the 1960‘s and is found in epoxy resins that act as a protective lining in metal-based cans. It’s also used to make hard plastic known as polycarbonate.

The FDA is unwilling to go for what Marian Nestle calls the ““precautionary principle” when it comes to banning BPA which became evident on March 30 when they denied a petition from the National Resources Defense Council to ban BPA from all food packaging.

FDA Claims Insufficient Evidence

The agency had a number of reasons for rejecting the ban, first concluding that cited studies were too small with inappropriate statistical analysis and failure to establish relevance to human health. The FDA says that it will continue to review emerging studies observing definitive research on the subject. Lloyd also writes that before a full ban can work, we need a more viable alternative to BPA for lining cans in order to prevent deadly food poisoning from can corrosion.

But they’re also well aware that the issue isn’t going to die down any time soon. On March 16, Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass) filed three separate petitions calling for a ban on BPA in food packaging, baby/toddler food packaging, and reusable beverage containers.

Last year the Senate was set to consider a bipartisan deal to limit the use of BPA in children's products but the bill failed thanks to hard opposition from the American Chemistry Council and other lobbying efforts. The ban was proposed as an amendment to the food safety bill.

FDA Sees Health Issues

The FDA has admitted that it’s concerned with BPA’s impact on the brain and the prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children. And it has taken steps to reduce its use. According to the FDA:

These steps include:

  • supporting the industry’s actions to stop producing BPA-containing baby bottles and infant feeding cups for the U.S. market;

  • facilitating the development of alternatives to BPA for the linings of infant formula cans; and supporting efforts to replace BPA or minimize BPA levels in other food can linings.

  • FDA is supporting a shift to a more robust regulatory framework for oversight of BPA.

  • FDA is seeking further public comment and external input on the science surrounding BPA.
  • While the FDA waits for what it deems more conclusive evidence on the chemical, most recently, the European Union has banned BPA in baby bottles and Sweden has banned BPA from kid's packaging. It seems in the U.S. a much awaited ban may take years so until then reduce your exposure by avoiding canned foods as much as possible unless they are not lined with BPA. Eden's Organic is a safe product but just because a product is organic does not mean it's BPA-free. Also, use glass instead of hard plastic.

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    Tags: Bisphenol A