BPA Ban from Food Containers Denied by FDA

Federal health regulators have decided not to ban the use of a chemical known as Bisphenol A (BPA) in food containers and drinking bottles, despite concerns over the chemical’s harmful effects on the human body. 

Last week, the FDA denied a petition filed in 2008 by the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), which called for BPA to be banned from food packaging.

After the FDA failed to respond to the petition, the NRDC filed a lawsuit to get the agency to make a decision. As part of a settlement agreement reached in December, the FDA promised to decide on the petition, which was finalized last week.

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The FDA determined that there was not enough scientific data for the agency to change regulations allowing BPA in food packaging. The agency’s own investigation determined that there is no proof that very low levels of BPA are unsafe. Very low levels have been found in consumers exposed to the products and only minute amounts appear to pass from mother to child during pregnancy, according to the agency.

The chemical is used to make many plastic products hard and shatterproof. It is used in the manufacture of many consumer products, such as bottles, cups, can liners, baby products and other food containers.

FDA officials have said that the decision is not the agency’s final determination, as the agency is still investigating BPA effects.

Because BPA is what is known as an endocrine disruptor, it can confuse the body’s hormones. In fact, it was originally designed as a form of synthetic estrogen before it was remarketed as a plastic liner that could preserve food.

Exposure to BPA has long been suspected of causing hormonal changes by impacting the human endocrine system. Some prior research has also suggested that BPA side effects can cause developmental abnormalities and other problems over time in infants and young children.

In February, studies were released indicating possible links between BPA exposure and heart disease, as well as weight gain and diabetes.

Some companies, such as Campbell Soup, H.J. Heinz Co. and Tupperware have already begun phasing BPA out of their product lines. BPA bans have already been enacted in baby bottles in Canada and Europe, and France has banned it from all food packaging.

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