Federal Regulators Opt Not To Prohibit Use of Chemical Additive BPA
On Friday, FDA announced it does not have adequate scientific evidence to ban the use of the chemical bisphenol-A, but agency officials are hopeful they will have a more definitive ruling on the widely used additive later this year, the Wall Street Journal reports (Tomson/Burton, Wall Street Journal, 3/30).
FDA had until March 31 to issue a final decision as part of a settlement that it reached in December 2011 with the Natural Resources Defense Council, according to National Journal.
NRDC since 2008 has petitioned FDA to ban the use of BPA in food and drink packaging and infant formula containers. NRDC then sued the agency in 2011 after it failed to respond to the group's requests as required by federal law.
FDA said it supports efforts to reduce human exposure to BPA, but the agency said it "is not recommending that families change the use of infant formula or foods, as the benefit of a stable source of good nutrition outweighs the potential risk of BPA exposure" (Fox, National Journal, 3/30).
BPA Critics, House Democrat Blast Decision
Sarah Janssen, a senior scientist in NRDC's public health program, criticized FDA's decision, saying the agency "made the wrong call" and it "is out-of-step with scientific and medical research" on the issue. She added, "This illustrates the need for a major overhaul of how the government protects us against dangerous chemicals" (Brasher, CQ HealthBeat, 3/30).
Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) -- who has introduced legislation (HR 432) to ban BPA and filed three petitions with FDA -- also criticized the decision. "Despite steps taken around the world to eliminate the use of this toxic chemical in food and beverage packaging, the FDA continues to ignore safety concerns and allow BPA in the household products American families use every day," Markey said (Pecquet, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.