U.S. FDA decision on BPA by end of March 2012
Final decision on whether to ban bisphenol A to be resolved March 31.
European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)
metal can lining
U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Food Advisory Committee
US National Institutes of Health
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it will reveal its decision by March 31, 2012 whether bisphenol A will be banned from use in packaging for food and drinks.
After a three-year delay, the agency agreed to address the use of the chemical—bisphenol A, or BPA—as part of a settlement reached with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
The agreement, approved by US District Judge Barbara Jones in New York, says the FDA must issue a final decision, not a tentative response.
In 2008, the NRDC filed a petition with FDA requesting a ban on BPA in food packaging, food containers and any material likely to come in contact with food owing to the chemical being linked to causing brain damage in developing babies, infants and young children.
When the FDA did not respond, as required by law, NRDC sued in 2010 asking the court to require the agency to respond.
The settlement out of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York will require FDA to respond to NRDC’s petition by March 31, 2012.
In October 2009, the US National Institutes of Health declared a launch of a new $30million two-year study to determine the safety of BPA used in metal can linings, plastic bottles and sipper cups.
FDA spokesman Doug Karas, says it was important to note that enduring safety is a continuous process. “New studies are being done all the time. They will continue to be considered and add to the body of knowledge for decisions on BPA.”
BPA can be found in the linings of beer or soda cans, vegetable or soup cans and liquid infant formula containers as well as consumer products made from polycarbonate plastics, including reusable water bottles. Consumer demand has already driven baby bottles and sippy cups containing the hormone-disrupting chemical from store shelves, but the exposure from food packaging remains.
In 2010, FDA acknowledged it had “some concerns” about the chemical’s effects on the brain, behavior and prostate glands in fetuses, infants and young children. The agency has supported some steps to reduce BPA exposure but has not banned the chemical’s use.
Earlier this December, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reaffirmed in its latest report that the use of BPA in food packaging applications pose no harm to human health.