WASHINGTON (Oct. 7, 3:45 p.m. ET) — Even though the American Chemistry Council still stands behind the safety of bisphenol A, it is asking the Food and Drug Administration to revise its regulations to exclude baby bottles and sippy cups from its existing regulation that permits companies to use polycarbonate plastic in food-contact applications.
“There is strong scientific support for the continued safety of BPA, but these products [baby bottles and sippy cups made from polycarbonate] are no longer on the market in the U.S., and won't be in the future,” said Steve Hentges, director of ACC's Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group. “We're trying to cut through the confusion and bring certainty and clarity to consumers so they understand these products don't contain BPA.”
ACC's request also is designed to bring a halt to state and local legislative efforts to ban BPA.
Eleven states, the city of Chicago and four counties have banned the use of BPA in those products even though all major baby bottle manufacturers that make products for the U.S. market agreed in 2009 not to make or sell baby bottles or sippy cups that contain BPA.
“Legislators are putting time and effort and making expenditures of resources to ban something that doesn't exist,” Hentges said in an Oct. 7 conference call.
“An amended FDA regulation would apply nationwide [but not supercede existing laws] and “allow us to shift and focus our attention on products that actually exist in the marketplace,” Hentges said.
“Although governments around the world continue to support the safety of BPA in food-contact materials, confusion about these products has become an unnecessary distraction to consumers, legislators and state regulators,” Hentges said. “FDA action on this request will provide certainty that BPA is not used to make the baby bottles and sippy cups on store shelves, either today or in the future.”
In addition to the bans in the United States, BPA is banned in baby bottles in the European Union, Canada and China.
Hentges said ACC has consistently opposed state and local efforts to ban BPA in baby bottles because it believes FDA is the “proper authority” to make decisions about the use of BPA in food-contact applications.
“FDA is really the proper authority on it [BPA] because of the agency's scientific background,” Hengtes said. “That is why we are taking the action back to them.”
Under FDA procedures, once a petition has been accepted, the agency will commence a standard rulemaking procedure, followed by a 60-day comment period. That would put the agency in position to amend its existing rule early next year, Hentges said.
“We look forward to the FDA taking action on our petition sometime next year,” Hentges said. “This would give us a unified consistent regulation that is applicable anywhere.”