The Natural Resources Defense Council has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration to ban the use of bisphenol A in food packaging.
The petition comes less than a week after the Canadian government placed bisphenol A on its list of toxic substances and said it would draft regulations to ban the importation, sale and advertising of polycarbonate baby bottles containing BPA.
``The FDA's current approval of BPA as a food additive is not safe and could result in serious health problems,'' said Dr. Sarah Janssen, San Francisco-based scientist in the health program at NRDC, in a news release. ``The FDA must do its job and safeguard our food supply by banning BPA in all food packaging.''
Until this petition, the efforts of anti-BPA advocates have been focused on feeding products for infants 18 months and younger.
NRDC's petition, filed Oct. 21, specifically asks FDA to ``prohibit the use of BPA in human food and revoke all regulations permitting the use of a food additive that results in BPA becoming a component of food.'' The petition contends that the FDA has not tested food for bisphenol A contamination since the early 1990s, when it tested six samples of canned vegetables purchased in Washington.
BPA has been a subject of controversy in the U.S. with government agencies taking conflicting views of its safety in food packaging, most notably baby bottles and sippy cups. In the food industry, it also is used in the linings of metal cans.
The FDA advisory committee held a hearing in Rockville, Md., on the safety of BPA and is scheduled to meet Oct. 31.
In April, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in Canada stopped selling baby bottles, sippy cups, pacifiers, food containers and water bottles containing BPA.
Both Wal-Mart and Toys ``R'' Us Inc. have said they will stop selling baby bottles that contain BPA in the United States sometime next year.
Additionally, San Francisco supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier introduced a resolution Oct. 15 asking stores and hospitals to pull baby bottles made with BPA voluntarily off their shelves. Safeway Stores agreed to that request. Whole Foods Market Inc., another supermarket chain with stores in San Francisco, has not sold baby bottles that contain BPA since 2006.