On Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that the chemical bisphenol-A, known as BPA, is banned from being used in baby bottles and sippy cups, reports the Associated Press. BPA has been used for decades in numerous items to harden plastics, but its use in food packaging has been a point of controversy for several years.
In 2008, the FDA said that the traces of BPA that leach out of food packaging were not harmful to consumers’ health. Then in 2010, the FDA altered its opinion and expressed some concern about the effect of BPA on the health of babies and young children.
Bisphenol-A has been tested on rodents and other animals, and results have shown that BPA can hinder the development of nervous and reproductive systems. For years, the FDA continuously denied that the same results can be applied to humans, although it has already been shown to leach out of food and beverage packaging and into the bodies of those who consume foods from those containers, with traces of the chemical in the urine of approximately 90 percent of Americans. The U.S. government has invested $30 million to conduct its own research on BPA’s effect on humans.
The FDA’s ban on bisphenol-A in baby bottles and sippy cups may have arrived too late to have an impact on the manufacturing industry, though. The American Chemistry Council determined that the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups has already been discontinued by manufacturers out of fear of its potential health risks. The Environmental Working Group adds in a press release that the FDA’s action will have “little impact on children’s health,” given that consumers and state-level legislation have already removed most BPA from these items.
“Once again, the FDA has come so late to the party that the public and the marketplace have already left,” said Jason Rano, Director of Government Affairs for Environmental Working Group. “If the agency truly wants to prevent people from being exposed to this toxic chemical associated with a variety of serious and chronic conditions it should ban its use in cans of infant formula, food and beverages.”
For now, the FDA still says that BPA’s use in canned goods is safe.
Will you be on the lookout for BPA in your food packaging?