FDA denies a petition that sought to ban BPA from food packaging


Published May 10, 2012 at 05:00AM / Updated Nov 19, 2013 at 12:31AM

The Food and Drug Administration said that after performing extensive research on the chemical Bisphenol A, the agency is denying a 2008 petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council to ban BPA from food packaging.

BPA, which has generated controversy about its impact on health, is used in the production of plastics and resins and is found in some water bottles and food cans. Research has shown that small amounts can migrate into food and beverages. Some animal studies have raised concerns that BPA exposure may cause multiple health problems, including reproductive disorders, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The FDA said in its March 30 consumer update report that “scientific evidence at this time does not suggest that the very low levels of human exposure to BPA through the diet are unsafe.” And, the “FDA is continuing its research and monitoring of studies to address uncertainties raised about BPA.”

The Natural Resources Defense Council released a response from Sarah Janssen, a public health scientist, which said the FDA made the wrong call.

“The agency has failed to protect our health and safety in the face of scientific studies that continue to raise disturbing questions about the long-term effects of BPA exposures, especially in fetuses, babies and young children,” she said. “The FDA is out of step with scientific and medical research.”

For consumers who want to limit their exposure to BPA, the FDA says:

• Plastic containers have recycle codes on the bottom. Some, but not all, plastics that are marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 may be made with BPA.

• Do not put very hot or boiling liquid intended for consumption in plastic containers made with BPA. BPA levels rise in food when their containers are heated.

• Discard bottles with scratches, which can lead to greater release of BPA.

— Anne Aurand, The Bulletin

Source: International Food Information Council Foundation, the Food and Drug Administration and Natural Resources Defense Council