US denies request to ban BPA from food containers

30 March 2012 22:22  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--US health officials on Friday denied a request by environmentalists to ban bisphenol A (BPA) from use in food containers of any kind, saying that there is insufficient scientific evidence to warrant a ban.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said that it had been told by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that “as a matter of science and regulatory policy, the best course of action at this time is to continue our review and study of emerging data on BPA”.

In a petition filed with the FDA several years ago, the NRDC had asked the administration to ban the use of BPA in any containers or packaging that store food or otherwise come in contact with products meant for human consumption.

NRDC argued in its petition that BPA “is a known endocrine disrupting chemical” and said that the administration had an obligation to ban the use of the chemical in food-contact containers and packaging.

BPA is widely used in plastic bottles and as a lining in food cans.

In its statement on the NRDC petition, the FDA said that it denied the appeal because the group “did not provide the scientific evidence needed to change current regulations, which allow the use of BPA in food packaging”.

An FDA spokesman said that “while evidence from some studies has raised questions as to whether BPA may be associated with a variety of health effects, there remain serious questions about these studies, particularly as they relate to humans and the public health impact of BPA”.

The administration said, however, that it would continue to study the health effects of BPA use in food containers.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) said that “We have and will continue to rely on the experts at FDA to evaluate the safety of BPA, and respond on the basis of all the available scientific data”.

“BPA is one of the most thoroughly tested chemicals used today and has a safety track record in food contact of over 40 years,” the ACC said in a statement.

Although BPA has not been found to be a health hazard by US and European government agencies, controversy over the chemical has led many food packaging and other food-contact product manufacturers to abandon BPA in favour of other substances.

By: Joe Kamalick
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