FDA Moves Forward on Markey Petition to Ban BPA from Infant Formula Packaging
Congressman encourages manufacturers of other food packaging to abandon use of toxic chemical
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted the petition from Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) to revise its regulations, disallowing the use of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in infant formula packaging. According to the notice sent to Rep. Markey, senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the FDA, within 90 business days the agency will file the petition in the Federal Register, allow and review any public comments, and propose a final rule that will change the regulations so that BPA can no longer be used in packaging of infant formula. This will be the first time the FDA initiated a rule change for infant formula and use of BPA.
“New parents should be worried about bibs and bottles not BPA when feeding their babies,” said Rep. Markey. “With FDA finally taking steps to remove BPA from infant formula, feeding time for parent and babies just got much safer. Now that the FDA is moving forward with my petition, industry practice can follow consumer demand and we will be able to close the door on the use of BPA in infant formula forever. Accepting this petition is a good start, but there are many industries that are ignoring consumer concerns and continuing to poison our food supply with this dangerous chemical. There are viable alternatives for BPA in food packaging, and I urge companies to be better corporate citizens and abandon the use of this toxic chemical. I also encourage FDA to complete and make public their long-overdue assessment of BPA’s health impacts, and make clear their next steps for ensuring our entire food supply is free from this damaging chemical.”
The petitions to the FDA, FDA’s response, as well as additional information about Rep. Markey’s work on BPA, including his legislation to ban its use, can be found HERE.
In March 2012, Rep. Markey sent three separate petitions to the FDA requesting the agency permanently remove regulatory approval for the use of BPA in baby and toddler food packaging, small reusable household food and beverage containers, and canned food packaging on the grounds that manufacturers have abandoned use of BPA in these products. The FDA was unable to move forward with Rep. Markey’s petitions for baby food and small reusable food and beverage containers, largely because the FDA could not verify whether the major manufacturers that abandoned BPA’s use and that were included in the petition represented the entire industry responsible for these products. Because some canned food and beverage corporations, including Coca-Cola ConAgra, and Pepsico, have openly opposed transition away from use of BPA, the agency could not move forward with the petition on canned food.
BPA is used to harden plastics, and it is so prevalent in household items that it has been detected in the bodies of more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers have found that BPA leaches from containers into food and beverages and has been linked to a host of health problems, including cancer, reproductive dysfunction and heart disease.
In January 2010, federal officials at the FDA stated that they had “some concern” about BPA’s safety, particularly for infants and young children. Canada declared BPA a toxin and banned it from baby bottles in 2008, followed by France and Denmark in 2010. Similar restrictions have been instituted in Massachusetts, Vermont, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Washington.