Despite the FDA’s recent reluctance to ban BPA (bisphenol-A) in food packaging outright, citing a lack of conclusive evidence that the plastic polymer can cause serious human health issues, the agency may now agree to enforce a ban on the substance from use in baby food packaging.
Disappointed with the FDA’s refusal to acknowledge the health risks connected with BPA, Massachusetts Congressman Ed Markey (D) narrowed the focus and petitioned the FDA back in March to remove regulatory approval of three items commonly made with BPA: canned foods, reusable household containers and baby and toddler food packaging. Markey noted that manufacturers have willfully “abandoned” the use of BPA in these products due to overwhelming customer concern, which points to an FDA policy that states the agency can remove approval for a substance if it has been abandoned. And that’s exactly what Markey suggested the agency should do.
The agency accepted Markey’s petition last week specifically on infant formula containers, but upheld its refusal on canned food and reusable containers.
Research has continued to surface in recent years identifying the risks associated with BPA exposure, and has led to bans in countries including Canada, France and China. But in light of the stacking evidence and the agency’s recent decision, the FDA continues to maintain its position that the risks have not been clearly identified, if they truly exist at all.
But studies show that repeated exposure to low levels of BPA could cause behavioral, neurological and reproductive issues, particularly the earlier the exposure happens—even in the womb.
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