May 26, 2020

FDA Accepts Petition to Ban BPA From Infant Formula Containers

The FDA has accepted Congressman Ed Markey’s petition to remove regulatory approval for bisphenol-A (BPA) in infant and toddler formula containers, small reusable household containers, and canned food packaging.

BPABack in April, the FDA ruled against a petition to ban BPA in food packaging that was filed by the National Resources Defense Council two years earlier. At that time, the government agency said they would study BPA instead of ban it.

According to the petition, “because BPA is an unstable polymer and is also lipophilic (fat-seeking), it can leach from packaging into canned foods, infant formula, and other food products. Once in food, BPA can move quickly into people – a particular concern for women of childbearing age and for young children.”

The petition continues, “BPA is a well-documented endocrine-disrupting chemical that can mimic action of the hormone estrogen. Studies have found that BPA is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, miscarriages, breast and prostate cancer, reproductive dysfunction, metabolic dysfunction, and neurological and behavioral disorders.”

Many manufacturers, such as the Campbell’s Soup Company, have already removed the chemical from packaging. And the French government proposed a ban on BPA in food packaging in 2011; that law will take effect in 2014. BPA is used in metal can linings and makes plastic products shatterproof. Othrer governments have banned the chemical in products marketed to babies and children, including China, Canada, South Africa, Argentina, and the European Union. Eleven states in this country have banned BPA in children’s products.

Some studies have shown that BPA exposure at low levels over long periods of time may cause neurological damage and behavior problems, may increase the risk of heart disease, and may reduce the efficacy of chemotherapy. Other studies have questioned whether the level of exposure does any harm at all.

The petition, filed by Representative Markey (D-NY), was accepted to disallow the BPA content in infant formula containers, but denied the petition about removing the chemical in household containers and canned food packaging. The agency will file the petition in the Federal Register, allow time for public comment, then propose a final rule.

Rep. Markey said in a statement that, “new parents should be worried about bibs and bottles, not BPA, when feeding their babies. With FDA finally taking steps to remove BPA from infant formula, feeding time for parent and babies just got much safer.”

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