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.
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 because it wasn't banned so much as withdrawn and abandoned.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.