Contact: Eben Burnham-Snyder, Rep. Ed Markey, 202-225-2836

Senate Republicans Previously Blocked BPA Ban in Food Safety Bill

WASHINGTON (June 4, 2013) – Citing health risks to children and concerns of parents, Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today re-introduced his legislation to prohibit the use of the chemical bisphenol-A -- commonly known as 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 their 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.

“It’s time to take the worry out of feeding America’s kids by taking the BPA out of infant formula, canned goods, and other food and beverage containers,” said Rep. Markey, a senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Food and Drug Administration. “Parents, consumers, and doctors are all asking to get BPA out of our bodies. It’s time to ban this chemical and move to safer alternatives.”

Rep. Markey’s BPA bill would:

--Ban reusable food and beverage containers (e.g., thermoses) and other food containers (e.g., canned food and formula) that contain BPA from being sold or introduced into commerce.

--Allow 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. 

--Require 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.  

--Require 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.

Since 2008, Rep. Markey has led the fight to ban BPA from food and beverage containers by introducing the “Ban Poisonous Additives Act.” 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. In 2011, 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.

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. Other countries, including the European Union, China, France, Turkey, Denmark, Sweden, United Arab Emirates and Malaysia, have also taken action to limit the sale of BPA-containing food and beverage items, particularly for children. In addition, states have instituted similar restrictions in Massachusetts, Vermont, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Wisconsin, Illinois, Washington and Maine.

This legislation is supported by 19 other members of Congress and has been endorsed by the American Nurses Association, Clean Water Action, Breast Cancer Fund, Consumers Union, Environmental Working Group and many other public health, consumer protection, and environmental organizations. Links to the endorsement letters can be found HERE and HERE.

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