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Sarah Janssen’s Blog

Baby steps to a BPA ban.

Sarah Janssen

Posted June 13, 2012 in Health and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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The Washington Post reported that the FDA is considering a ban on the use of BPA in infant formula packaging as a result of a petition filed by Congressmen Ed Markey.  A few months ago, FDA indicated that they were also considering a ban on BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups.

Both petitions were driven by arguments that BPA is no longer used in these products, and asked FDA to make the switch permanent by banning further use. 

The market shift away from using BPA in baby bottles and infant formula happened because parents were rightly concerned about safety of this chemical in their children’s products. Walmart, Target and other major retailers agreed years ago to sell only BPA-free baby bottles and all the major bottle manufacturers began to make alternatives. Eleven states have banned BPA in children’s products and at least two have banned it in infant formula. Congressmen Markey has letters from all the major infant formula makers stating they no longer use BPA in their packaging. 

We’re glad that Rep. Markey’s petition has forced FDA to focus on BPA in infant formula once and for all, but FDA continues to dodge the bigger questions of BPA safety.

To be truly protective of public health, BPA should be removed from all food packaging, including canned goods.

When FDA denied NRDC’s petition, which argued that BPA was not safe in the food supply, FDA stated that they had not made a final safety determination on BPA. We are still waiting for FDA to tell us whether or not BPA is really safe.

In the meantime, canned food manufacturers continue to remove BPA from their can linings – Campbell’s, Heinz, Hunt’s, and many others have gone BPA-free.  This shift has only happened because consumers were concerned about the safety of BPA and demanded change.

It’s time for FDA to stop skirting the question and waiting for the market to change before they make a move.  Significant concerns about the safety of BPA,  especially in fetuses, infants and children, remain. As a public health agency, FDA should be doing more to protect the public and not corporate interests.

 Find out more about BPA and how you can avoid it here.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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