FDA Rejects Petition On BPA

The FDA noted it requires more evidence of harm before banning BPA in food packaging.

Late Friday afternoon, on the eve of its legal deadline, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it has rejected the 2008 Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) petition requesting that the toxic chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, be declared unsafe and banned from food packaging.

The FDA said it “has determined, as a matter of science and regulatory policy, that the best course of action at this time is to continue our review and study of emerging data on BPA,” and that “this announcement is not a final safety determination and the FDA continues to support research examining the safety of BPA.”

Jeanne Rizzo, Breast Cancer Fund President & CEO noted in a statement that the body of evidence against BPA has been mounting over the years, and the organization has been calling on the FDA to make a determination on BPA’s safety. “Most of us are exposed to BPA every day. In fact, the CDC found BPA in 93% of all Americans tested, and the National Institutes of Health point to food packaging, including food cans, which are lined with BPA, as a major route of exposure. BPA has been found in blood and urine of pregnant women, in the umbilical cord blood of newborns and in breast milk soon after women gave birth. Nearly 200 lab studies show that exposures to even low doses of BPA, particularly during pregnancy and early infancy, are associated with a wide range of adverse health effects later in life, including breast cancer. Studies show that BPA exposure can make non-cancerous breast cells grow and survive like cancer cells, and can actually make the cells less responsive to the cancer-inhibiting effects of tamoxifen, a drug used in the treatment of breast cancer,” according to Rizzo.

But the FDA noted it requires more evidence of harm before banning BPA in food packaging.  

The rejection of the NRDC petition is far from the last decision the FDA will have to make on BPA, and far from the last word from the public and policy makers. Two weeks ago, Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., formally petitioned the FDA to ban the use of BPA in food packaging. Markey has also introduced legislation, the Ban Poisonous Additives Act, that would instruct the FDA to ban BPA from all food packaging. Meanwhile, the American Chemistry Council, which represents companies that manufacture BPA and has spent millions lobbying aggressively on behalf of BPA, submitted a petition to the FDA in December requesting that the agency ban the hormonally active chemical from baby bottles.

Campbell Soup Co. plans to phase out the use of BPA in its can linings. Baby bottle and sports water bottle manufacturers abandoned BPA over the last few years. At the public policy level, 11 states have banned BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups, and three of those states have also banned it from infant formula and baby food.




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