US senator to propose ban on bisphenol A

23 April 2008 17:56  [Source: ICIS news]

Infant health concerns prompted the move(Adds ACC comment in paragraph 9)

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US Senator Chuck Schumer (Democrat-New York) will propose legislation banning the sale of children’s products and food containers containing bisphenol A (BPA), possibly before the end of the week, the legislator’s office said on Wednesday.

As justification for the ban, the senator cited the National Toxicology Program’s draft report, published on 14 April.

The draft linked certain forms of cancer and developmental defects to high doses of BPA, a chemical used to manufacture polycarbonate (PC), and advised further study of low-dosage effects.

Studies have shown that BPA can leach out of PC bottles and the linings of food containers when exposed to heat or harsh detergents.

“It’s better to be safe than sorry,” the senator said through his office. “There’s enough warning signs to show the need to act sooner than later.”

Schumer also joined the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce in calling on the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to review its decision that BPA was safe.

The senator’s proposal follows the Canadian government’s announcement that PC baby products could be banned in the country despite its own findings that infants are not in danger from the BPA levels currently found in baby care products.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) last week said BPA’s health effects were overblown by the media and that the amounts of BPA to which most people are exposed pose no health threats. The chemical has been used in PC production for more than 40 years.

“In our view, Congress, not being a technical body, would be well served by waiting for a new review by FDA experts,” ACC plastics division managing director Steve Russell said on Wednesday.

Retailers Wal-Mart, Playtex Infant Care and Nalgene Outdoor Products announced last week they would phase out products containing the chemical. The retailer said they were reacting to consumer concerns and not necessarily because of any data showing BPA to be dangerous.

For more on polycarbonate and bisphenol-A visit ICIS chemical intelligence

By: Ben Lefebvre
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