WASHINGTON (October 21, 2008) -- Today, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to ban the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in food packaging. BPA is found in plastic bottles and metal containers, and poses a serious health risk, especially to infants and children.
“When parents prepare their infant’s bottle, pour their toddler’s juice, or make their family dinner with a can of soup or vegetables – they shouldn’t have to worry they are feeding their children dangerous chemicals. The FDA’s current approval of BPA as a food additive is not safe and could result in serious health problems,” said Dr. Sarah Janssen, scientist in the health program at NRDC. “The FDA must do its job and safeguard our food supply by banning BPA in all food packaging.”
BPA is a chemical originally developed to mimic estrogen that the FDA has approved as a food additive. It can be found in the lining of metal cans, including canned food and infant formula, as well as hard, clear polycarbonate plastic, such as baby bottles and sippy cups. BPA can leach into the foods and beverages from the packaging.
More than 93 percent of the general population has some BPA in their bodies. In animal studies, exposure to the amount of the chemical that most people now have in their bodies causes a wide array of abnormalities. Research shows that everyday levels of BPA may be linked to reproductive abnormalities, prostate and breast cancer, neurological damage, insulin resistance and diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
The FDA first approved use of BPA in food packaging in the 1960s. The FDA is now proposing to reaffirm its safety based on just two industry-funded studies. Since its original approval, however, new data evaluated by another federal agency – the National Toxicology Program – shows that BPA is a threat at lower levels than the FDA has concluded.
In Japan, BPA levels have been dramatically reduced in packaged foods. And this past weekend, Canada labeled BPA toxic and announced they will remove it from baby bottles.
“BPA-free products are already on shelves, but right now it’s confusing and up to the consumer to make the right choices,” said Dr. Janssen. “We rely on the FDA to protect us from dangerous chemicals in our food and beverages. They need to step-up and make sure all of us are safe from BPA.”