A narrow vote in the California Senate to ban the use of bisphenol A in bottles, cups, cans or jars that can be used to contain food or liquids intended for children ages 3 and younger has drawn the ire of an industry advocacy group.
The bill is not based on science and will not improve public health, the American Chemistry Council said in a statement after the California Senate passed the measure 21-16 on June 2 and sent it to the state Assembly for consideration.
Eleven regulatory bodies around the world have uniformly determined that BPA is safe for use in food contact products, Arlington, Va.-based ACC said. By failing to consider the conclusions of these recent assessments, it is apparent that elected officials have bowed to pressure from vocal special interest groups. If this bill becomes law, it will do nothing to enhance food safety.
The vote to move the proposed BPA ban forward in the California State Legislature happened on the same day that two U.S. senators sent a letter to newly confirmed Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg asking her to reconsider the agency's position on BPA.
The FDA has repeatedly said that BPA is safe in food-contact applications at current levels.
The letter, co-signed by Sen. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Sen. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., chairman of the committee's subcommittee on oversight and investigations, asked the FDA to look at other studies that have raised serious concerns with BPA in addition to two industry-sponsored studies that the agency used to arrive at its current position.
ACC released a statement supporting the review. We agree ... that an immediate, transparent assessment of the science [surrounding BPA], including all relevant data and scientific studies, is welcome and in the public's best interest, the council said.
Despite admonishments from its own scientific advisory board, FDA has repeatedly said that BPA is safe for use in children's food containers. However, others argue BPA can have harmful health effects, particularly in infants, and Canada's health ministry has said it will enact a ban on such products.
Earlier this year, Connecticut, Minnesota, Chicago and Suffolk County, N.Y., banned the sale of polycarbonate baby bottles, food containers, cups and infant formula cans that contain BPA. The Suffolk County ban will go into effect in July; the Minnesota ban on Jan. 1, 2010; the Chicago ban on Jan. 31, 2010; and the Connecticut ban on Oct. 1, 2011.
The six major baby bottle manufacturers have agreed not to use BPA in PC baby bottles, making the bans largely symbolic for plastic bottles. But the bans could have a huge impact on manufacturers of canned foods that use containers lined with BPA.
A bill pending in the U.S. Senate would ban the use of BPA in all food and beverage containers.