BPA could be banned from infant formula in the U.S. Exposure to the ubiquitous polycarbonate plastics chemical, bisphenol A (BPA) has, most recently, been linked to failed in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures.
In March, Representative Edward J. Markey (Democrat-Massachusetts) requested that the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) ban BPA in formula containers, said The Washington Post. Representative Markey also submitted two other petitions asking the agency to cease the use of BPA in small reusable food containers and in packaging for canned foods and beverages. This month, the agency rejected both requests but agreed to consider a BPA ban in infant formula containers.
Representative Markey used the “abandonment” clause, a provision that will enable a petition for changes to food additive rules if it can be proven that use of the additive in question has been abandoned, the Washington Post explained. By using the clause, the government can avoid the BPA safety debate while eliminating the chemical’s use.
Markey’s argument that major manufacturers no longer use BPA was used to ensure they never can use the controversial plastics chemical. And, although the FDA recently allowed BPA use in some consumer products, it did accept Representative Markey’s petition on infant formula, which, said the Washington Post, suggests the agency is seriously considering it, The FDA told Representative Markey that it would attempt to complete a scientific review of his request within 90 days. The agency will also collect public comment prior to a final decision. “New parents should be worried about bibs and bottles, not BPA when feeding their babies,” Markey said in a statement, wrote the Washington Post.
The FDA said the evidence presented on canned foods and beverages and small reusable containers has not proven that a significant portion of the industry has abandoned BPA on those packages. “You did not provide a rationale [on] how these manufacturers were identified and whether they represent a complete survey of all manufacturers,” the agency said, according to the Washington Post.
BPA has been at the center of a fierce debate in the United States between industry, which claims that the chemical is safe, and science, which has linked the estrogenic mimicker to myriad health effects. The FDA has said that BPA is safe and rejected a petition by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on March 30 to ban the chemical. The government continues to maintain that BPA is safe when taken in low doses, but has called for more BPA studies.
BPA, a compound that uses a combination of phenol and acetone, enters food when it leeches from food and beverage containers, and has been approved by the FDA for use in shatter-resistant polycarbonate plastic and durable epoxy resins. BPA leaches into products—hot or cold—and into the skin, from common items such as paper money, toilet paper, and receipts. BPA works in the body as an anti-androgen, a substance that blocks hormone activity, and mimics estrogen, a powerful female hormone. Because of this, BPA affects, even interrupts, sexual development and processes, especially in developing fetuses, infants, and children.
Many hundreds of scientific studies have linked BPA to toxic injury and life threatening illnesses, including future cardiac issues; breast cancer; and for mixing the body’s hormones, tricking fat cells into taking in more fat or confusing the pancreas into releasing too much insulin. Studies have also linked BPA to increased anxiety and depression in preschoolers exposed to BPA in the womb; toxic injury and implications in intestinal problems; brain cell connection interference; increased risks of immune system diseases and disorders; problems with liver function testing; and interruptions in chemotherapy treatment. BPA’s associations to the reproductive system disease are broad and include issues with uterine health and mammalian reproduction; a deadly uterine infection; premature puberty; Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and other female fertility and endocrine issues; and erectile dysfunction and male sexual problems in males as young as the developing fetus.