Massachusetts Congressman Edward Markey petitions FDA to remove approval for use of bisphenol-A in many food, beverage packaging products

Washington, D.C. , March 19, 2012 (press release) – For the first time in the agency’s history, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been sent three petitions by a member of Congress, calling on the agency to remove approval for the use of the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) in many of the everyday household products that are in contact with food and beverages. Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee -- which has jurisdiction over the FDA -- has sent three separate petitions to the FDA requesting the agency permanently remove regulatory approval for the use of BPA in infant formula and baby and toddler food packaging, small reusable household food and beverage containers, and canned food packaging on the grounds that manufacturers have stopped using BPA in these products.

BPA is used to harden plastics, and it is so prevalent in household items that more than 90 percent of the U.S. population has traces of it in its urine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers have found that BPA leaches from containers into food and beverages and has been linked to a host of health problems, including cancer, reproductive dysfunction and heart disease.

“Industry practice, fueled by consumer demand, has led to the development of alternatives for BPA in these household products, and these petitions to FDA should close the door on the use of this dangerous chemical in food and beverage containers forever,” said Rep. Markey. “These petitions will help ensure that BPA is forever kept out of our bodies, especially those of infants and children. Feeding time for babies should be laced with love -- not laced with chemicals like BPA.”

The petitions to the FDA, as well as additional information about Rep. Markey’s work on BPA, including his legislation to ban its use, can be found HERE.

Prior to submitting his petitions to the FDA, Rep. Markey’s office surveyed all of the major manufacturers of infant formula and baby and toddler food (five companies), small reusable household food and beverage containers (seven companies), and canned food and beverages (26 companies) in order to determine their current use of BPA in packaging. The infant formula and baby and toddler food manufacturers all reported that they no longer use BPA in their products. All of the reusable food and beverage container manufacturers reported that they have never used BPA, no longer use BPA, or are currently phasing out the use of BPA in their products. Of the canned food and beverage companies who responded, all reported that the use of BPA in packaging had ended or the companies had begin phasing out its use.

In January 2010, federal officials at the FDA stated that they had “some concern” about BPA’s safety, particularly for infants and young children. Canada declared BPA a toxin and banned it from baby bottles in 2008, followed by France and Denmark in 2010. Similar restrictions have been instituted in Massachusetts, Vermont, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Washington.

Last year, the FDA announced plans to ban bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles and children’s “sippy cups” after the American Chemistry County petitioned the FDA to withdraw approval for use of polycarbonate resins, containing bisphenol A (BPA), in baby bottles and children’s sippy cups.

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