The FDA announced this week that the plastic additive Bisphenol-A, which is most commonly known as BPA, may no longer used in baby bottles and sippy cups, contradicting a prior stance by the agency that suggested the amounts of the chemical released by consumer products did not pose a danger.
The BPA ban was finalized and published by the FDA in the Federal Register on July 17, calling for all all polycarbonate (PC) resins to no longer be used “in infant feeding bottles (baby bottles) and spill-proof cups, including their closures and lids.”
Polycarbonate resins are a combination of BPA and carbonyl chloride or diphenyl carbonate. The chemicals are used to make the plastic harder or shatter proof. However, several studies have suggested that exposure to the chemical, especially among babies or young children, can have severe long-term health consequences.
In addition to formalizing the ban on BPA in baby bottles and cups, the FDA also proposed another rule the same day, seeking to ban BPA from use in the packaging of infant formula products as well. There is a 61-day comment period for that rule.
Several local and state governments have already passed legislation banning BPA, and most U.S. manufacturers agreed to no longer manufacture baby bottles and cups that contain BPA in 2009.
The decision, while hailed by some health experts and consumer advocates, came at the behest of the American Chemistry Council (ACC), which made the request of FDA in October after determining that the industry had already stopped using BPA in baby products.
In a press release, the ACC claimed that BPA was considered safe to use in baby products, but that it had pushed for the ban to allay concerns and confusion.
Originally developed as a form of synthetic estrogen, BPA is used in the manufacture of many consumer products, such as bottles, cans, cups and other food containers.
Exposure to BPA is suspected of causing hormonal changes by impacting the human endocrine system. It has been linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and asthma. Some research has suggested that BPA can cause developmental abnormalities and other problems over time in infants and young children.
At the end of March, the FDA determined there was not enough data for the agency to change regulations allowing BPA in food packaging, denying a petition filed by the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) in 2008 and fulfilling a recent settlement agreement to make a decision on the petition.
BPA bans have also already been enacted in baby bottles in Canada and Europe, and France has banned it from all food packaging.