Lawsuit Seeks to Ban BPA from Food Packaging

NRDC Sues Food and Drug Administration for Failure to Regulate Toxic Chemical

WASHINGTON (June 29, 2010) -- The Natural Resources Defense Council filed a lawsuit today against the Food and Drug Administration for its failure to act on a petition to ban the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in food packaging, food containers, and other materials likely to come into contact with food. BPA, a hormone-disrupting chemical linked to serious health problems, poses a particular risk to fetuses, infants and young children. NRDC filed today’s lawsuit in U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

In October 2008, NRDC petitioned the FDA to prohibit the use of BPA in food packaging to prevent the toxic chemical from contaminating food. The FDA has failed to take action in response to the petition for more than 18 months, although the agency expressed concern about the effects of early life exposure to BPA on brain development and the prostate gland of fetuses, infants, and children.

BPA is found in wide variety of products, including the lining of liquid infant formula cans, soda or beer cans, fruit or vegetable cans, and pizza boxes as well as consumer products made from polycarbonate plastics, including baby bottles, sippy cups, and reusable water bottles. More than 93 percent of the general population has some BPA in their bodies, primarily from exposure through food contamination and other preventable exposures.

“BPA-free alternatives are already available and on the market. The FDA has no good reason to drag their feet on banning it,” said Dr. Sarah Janssen, a senior scientist in the Environment and Public Health program at NRDC. “It’s upsetting that food is most people’s primary source of exposure to BPA. The FDA should act now to eliminate this unnecessary risk.”

A growing amount of scientific research has linked BPA exposure to altered development of the brain and behavioral changes, a predisposition to prostate and breast cancer, reproductive harm, diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

“The FDA has failed to safeguard the food supply and protect the public from harm,” said Aaron Colangelo, an attorney with NRDC. “The FDA’s failure to regulate this chemical in food packaging in unjustified, and so we are forced to ask the court to intervene and order the agency to take action.”