Bisphenol A Now Illegal In American Baby Bottles and Sippy Cups, No Thanks to FDA

Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

A lot of people are cheering what they call a ban by the Food and Drug Administration of Bisphenol A,(BPA) in baby bottles and sippy cups. I am wondering why.

First of all, BPA has not been used to make baby bottles and sippy cups by American manufacturers for a while now; four years ago Walmart became the new FDA and pulled them off the shelves, pretty much killing the market for them. Fortunately for the manufacturers, there were BPA-free substitutes available, like the Eastman Tritan in my water bottle shown.

Why did the FDA do this?

Secondly, the FDA didn't ban it because they don't like the stuff, but because the biggest supporters and defenders of BPA, the American Chemistry Council asked for it! Specifically:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or the Agency) is amending the food additive regulations to no longer provide for the use of polycarbonate (PC) resins in infant feeding bottles (baby bottles) and spill-proof cups, including their closures and lids, designed to help train babies and toddlers to drink from cups (sippy cups) because these uses have been abandoned. The action is in response to a petition filed by the American Chemistry Council.

Why in the world would the ACC, which runs entire websites dedicated to promoting the safety of BPA, do such a thing? (They asked last October, but nobody noticed)

For one thing, it stops the FDA from looking at the science. Further in the Federal Register the FDA writes:

As indicated in the filing notice (77 FR 9608 at 9609), because the petition was based on an assertion of abandonment, the Agency did not request comments on the safety of the use of PC resins in baby bottles and sippy cups. Such safety information is not relevant to abandonment and, therefore, any comments addressing the safety of PC resins were not considered in the Agency's evaluation of this petition.

The only people who benefit from this rule change are the members of the American Chemistry Council.

So now, nobody can say "you banned it for babies, why is it still in other stuff if it is so dangerous?" because it wasn't banned so much as withdrawn and abandoned. The ACC is cutting their losses and protecting BPA for other uses. They are using the FDA as a barrier to stop cheap imports from other countries that still make baby stuff with BPA. They are probably reducing their liability because there is now no decision from the FDA on its safety. So far as I can tell, the only people who benefit from this rule change are the members of the American Chemistry Council.

The American Chemistry Council is laughing at us today; they were out of the BPA baby bottle business anyways and the decision has no real impact. They have cleared the decks for the big battle, over the epoxy linings of cans from food to beer to soft drinks, and the opposition just lost a big part of their argument, because cute vulnerable babies don't drink beer.

Some of the good old stuff on Bisphenol A in TreeHugger:

Fast Company on the Real Story Behind Bisphenol A BPA Update: Canada Declares it Toxic, FDA Chair's Donor was Michigan's "First Polluter" FDA Chair Studying BPA Took $5 Million Donation From BPA Supporter Final Report on Bisphenol A: It May Harm Kids FDA Says BPA Is Safe For Babies Bisphenol A: How Wal-Mart Became the New FDA Quotes of the Day: Opinions on the FDA Declaring BPA Safe Don't Buy A Nalgene Water Bottle Until You Read This Nalgene Dumps Bisphenol A Like Hot Potato : Possible Effects of BPA More Bad News About Bisphenol A: It Interferes with Chemotherapy Treatments Yet Another Bisphenol A Pile-on: Linked to Heart Disease, Diabetes and Liver Problems New Study: BPA May Make You Stupid and Depressed Sources of BPA: Bisphenol A Is In Your Tomato Sauce Bisphenol A Could Be In Your Teeth BPA Danger may be greater from Tin Cans than Water Bottles Polycarbonate Water bottles Canada Calls Bisphenol A "Dangerous" Time to Pack In the Polycarbonates Bottled Water - Lifting the Lid : MEC Nixes Nalgenes On Phthalates in TreeHugger: Do Babies Exposed to Phthalates Have Smaller Penises? Congress Will Do USEPA's Job: Reduce Childhood Exposure to Phthalates in Toys Ask Treehugger: What Is An Endocrine Distruptor? Are Boys Disappearing Because of Gender Bender Chemicals?

Tags: Bisphenol A | Food Safety

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