WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee which has jurisdiction over the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), today re-introduced legislation to prohibit the use of the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) in all food and beverage containers. BPA is used to harden plastics, and it is so prevalent in household items that more than 90 percent of the U.S. population has traces of it in its urine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 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.

Feeding time for babies should be laced with love not laced with chemicals. Parents have enough to worry about without wondering if the bottles they use to feed their children are safe or if the can of formula they have warmed up is harmful to their health,” said Rep. Markey. “This legislation will help keep BPA out of our bodies while also ensuring that all food and beverage containers are free from dangerous chemicals.”

Specifically Rep. Markey’s bill:

  • Bans reusable food and beverage containers (e.g., baby bottles and thermoses) and other food containers (e.g., canned food and formula) that contain BPA from being sold or introduced into commerce.
  • Allows the FDA to issue one-year waivers to the ban for particular food or beverage containers if there is no technology available to contain that particular product without the use of BPA. 
  • Requires manufactures that receive a waiver to the BPA ban to submit a plan for how it intends to comply with the ban in the future and to label containers with an indication that BPA was used.  
  • Requires the FDA to review substances that have been previously approved to manufacture food and beverage containers and to limit the use of any substance FDA determines may pose health risks, based on new scientific information.

In the past two Congresses, Rep. Markey has led the fight to ban BPA from food and beverage containers by introducing the “Ban Poisonous Additives Act.” And in July 2009, he successfully added a provision to the House-passed version of the Food Safety Enhancement Act, directing the FDA to evaluate the safety of BPA and report both its findings and its plans to address them. Republicans in the Senate blocked the inclusion of any BPA provision in the final version of the food safety bill that was signed into law earlier this month.

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.

It is clear that BPA poses serious health risks, especially to children,” concluded Markey. “It is time for Republicans to stop blocking action on this public health issue and for Congress to act quickly to ban this toxin from all food and beverage containers.”

This legislation has been endorsed by the Clean Water Action, Breast Cancer Fund, Consumers Union, the Natural Resources Defense Council and PIRG (Public Interest Research Group).