The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Jan. 15 changed its long-held view that bisphenol A is safe in food-contact applications at current levels.
FDA now says, instead, that it is taking reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply because some studies have raised concerns about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children.
In a statement, FDA said it supports industry efforts to stop making baby bottles and infant feeding cups that contain BPA a chemical used to make polycarbonate. Major retailers and manufacturers stopped selling and making PC baby bottles in 2008.
FDA also said it will support efforts to find a replacement for BPA in infant formula cans and food cans. BPA is used to make the epoxy resin that lines the interior of some metal cans.
Explaining the change in policy, FDA pointed to a review of BPA that was completed in September 2008 by the National Toxicology Program Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction, part of the National Institutes of Health.
The National Toxicology Program, after reviewing some BPA studies, had expressed some concern for effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures to [BPA].
Since then, FDA has reviewed studies of low-dose toxicity cited by the National Toxicology Program. FDA originally had planned to release its BPA policy in November, but the decision was delayed until Jan. 15.
FDA said it is pursuing additional studies, and it is seeking public input and input from other agencies.
Meanwhile, FDA supports a shift to a more robust regulatory framework for oversight of BPA to be able to respond quickly, if necessary, to protect the public.
The agency stressed that it is not recommending that the public change its use of infant formula or foods as the benefit of a stable source of good nutrition outweighs the potential risk of BPA exposure.
In a statement, the Arlington, Va.-based American Chemistry Council said: While ACC recognizes that [Health and Human Services] and FDA are attempting to address public confusion about BPA, we are disappointed that some of the recommendations are likely to worry consumers and are not well-founded.
ACC said it will continue to review new scientific studies about BPA safety.
Regulatory agencies around the world, which have recently reviewed the research, have reached conclusions that support the safety of BPA. BPA is one of the most thoroughly tested chemicals in commerce today, the statement said.
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