The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) petitioned the U.S.Food & Drug Administration to ban the controversial agent bisphenol A (BPA) from food packaging due to concerns that BPA “is a hormone-disrupting chemical linked to cancer, obesity and a host of other health problems in the food supply.” The FDA found that there is not sufficient scientific evidence to justify a complete ban and denied the NRDC petition. The agency agrees that some studies indicate the potential for the chemical to have adverse effects on the brain, and prostate glands in fetuses, infants and young children. However, they remain unconvinced that current levels of human exposure to BPA are unsafe. The FDA supports voluntary actions on the part of industry to discontinue the use of BPA in baby bottles and limit the content of the agent in food can linings. The FDA stressed that they will continue to research the safety of BPA with the National Institute of Environmental Studies. According to the March 30th letter to the NRDC, the “FDA 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. Because the information provided in your petition was not sufficient to persuade FDA, at this time, to initiate rulemaking to prohibit the use of BPA in human food and food packaging, or to revoke all regulations permitting the use of any food additive that may result in BPA becoming a component of food, FDA is denying your petition in accordance with 21 CFR 10.30(e)(3). FDA is performing, monitoring, and reviewing new studies and data as they become available, and depending on the results, any of these studies or data could influence FDA’s assessment and future regulatory decisions about BPA.”
The American Chemistry Council continues to assert the safety of BPA.