FDA, BPA and the Future

Articles
January 22, 2010

FDA, BPA and the Future

As the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reevaluated their stance on bisphenol-a (BPA), a hormone-like chemical found in plastic bottles, cans, and other food containers, and the result is they no longer fully support its safety.

As the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reevaluated their stance on bisphenol-a (BPA), a hormone-like chemical found in plastic bottles, cans, and other food containers, and the result is they no longer fully support its safety. Recent tests conducted by the National Toxicology Program at the National Institutes of Health, have led FDA to question and acknowledge “potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children.”  Exposure to BPA results primarily through containers used to store, cook, and transport foods and beverages. 
 
The safety of BPA has been questioned for decades. In fact its toxicity was first discovered in 1930 when it was initially found to mimic estrogen, leading to various cancers. Nonetheless, a decade later its use was ubiquitous in plastics, cans and tins used for foods. Until now, BPA’s toxicity had been ignored by the FDA – despite mounting evidence for the contrary.
 
The FDA’s recommendations may be limited with respect to BPA at this point: support industry’s actions to stop producing BPA containing infant bottles and feeding cups, facilitating the development for BPA alternatives and creating a more robust regulatory system. However, the decision to recognize and clarify uncertainties regarding BPA and health is being considered great progress. Scientific studies and consumer advocacy groups have been questioning the safety of BPA for years.    
 
Currently the FDA’s stance on BPA’s effect on teens and adults remains that this population’s body systems are fully developed and thus are able to adequately process and detoxify toxins. In order to fully clarify this issue, the FDA is pursuing additional studies, seeking public input and input from other expert agencies, with the public’s best interest in mind.   
 
What contains BPA?

  • Infant formula, the lining of metal containers
  • Canned foods, such as soups and canned vegetables
  • Plastic containers with label “PC” recycling label #7 – these are used for sippy cups, baby bottles, food storage containers and water bottles. These types of containers should especially not be used to reheat food.

We expect to see manufacturers replacing these with:  

Glass or plastics made with recycling label #1, #2 and #4, cloudy or soft colored plastic, containers clearly labeled BPA free, and stainless steel containers, and tetra packs.

The FDA’s response on BPA can be found here.