June 17, 2024

Consumer Groups Petition FDA to Restrict Bisphenol A in Packaging

Consumers groups have petitioned the FDA to restrict bisphenol A use in food packaging. The formal petition, spearheaded by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), was filed in late January, 2022.

Consumer Groups Petition FDA to Restrict Bisphenol A in Packaging

While the FDA no longer allows BPA in infant formula packaging, it is used in many other products. The ban in infant formula packaging, in fact, was issued just because companies stopped using it, not for health concerns. Studies have shown that chemical may be problematic and could cause endocrine disruption, even though the FDA insists that the compound is safe.

The petition to ask the FDA to restrict Bisphenol A use was filed because new findings from a panel of experts at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) indicated that harmful effects from BPA exposure “can occur at levels 100,000 times lower than previously thought. This new safe level ‒ based on recent scientific evidence ‒ is more than 5,000 times below what FDA says most Americans are exposed to,” according to the petition. The petition asks the FDA to lift uses of BPA in food contact items that may result in migration into food above 0.5 nanogram per kilogram of food.

BPA is used to make polycarbonate and other plastics that are used in pitchers, food containers, tableware, and food storage containers. It is also used in epoxy resins that line the inside of metal products and bottle tops. A 2008 CDC study found that BPA is present in 92% of U.S. adult bodies.

EFSA’s expert panel says that the chemical can lead to an overactive immune system, causing inflammation, as well as endocrine disruption, reduced learning, and memory issues, even at extremely low exposures.

Tom Neltner, EDF’s senior director for safer chemicals said in a statement, “The process EFSA used to reassess the safety of bisphenol is a template for how FDA should be doing it for the hundreds of chemicals it approved decades ago. Transparent, thorough, and grounded in the science. With Americans overexposed to BPA by more than 5,000 times, the agency must make this a top priority and make a final decision by the 180-day statutory deadline.”

And Lynne Thorpe, Clean Water Action National Campaigns Director said in a statement, “FDA needs to act immediately to get BPA out of plastics that contact food, adhesives, and coatings in order to protect people’s health. Early action to curb BPA use will also prevent ongoing release of BPA into the environment, including into water bodies used as drinking water sources.”

Petitioners include environmental Defense Fund, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, Clean Water Action, Consumer Reports, Endocrine Society, Healthy babies Bright Futures, and Environmental Working Group.

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