The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to respond to a BPA petition today. The petition, issued by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) seeks a ban of bisphenol A (BPA) a ubiquitous and controversial chemical that has found its way into a massive amount of consumer products.
The NRDC petition was filed in 2008 and requested that the agency ban the chemical. The FDA failed to respond to the petition when mandated by law and the NRDC followed with a federal lawsuit to compel an FDA decision. The FDA agreed to issue a decision by March 31.
BPA, a compound that uses a combination of phenol and acetone, enters food when it leeches from food and beverage containers, explained Bloomberg.com. The FDA has approved BPA use in shatter-resistant polycarbonate plastic and durable epoxy resins.
“We have and will continue to rely on the experts at FDA to evaluate the safety of BPA, and respond on the basis of all the available scientific data, including information referenced by NRDC. BPA is one of the most thoroughly tested chemicals used today and has a safety track record in food contact of over 40 years,” said Steven G. Hentges, Ph.D., of the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group of ACC. “The consensus of government agencies across the world, based on the science, is that BPA is safe for use in food-contact materials.” ACC—The American Chemistry Council—represents the chemical industry.
The ACC also wrote that a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-funded study reconfirmed that it is very unlikely that BPA could cause human health effects because of the efficiency and speed by which the human body metabolizes and eliminates the chemical. Last year, the European Food Safety Authority reaffirmed that BPA is safe for use in food-contact materials and a World Health Organization (WHO) panel supported the continued use of BPA in products that come in contact with food.
But, anti-BPA advocates disagree. “Every day, millions of American consumers are exposed to this dangerous chemical, commonly used in packaging for canned foods, beverages and even baby formula,” said Sarah Janssen, a senior scientist in the Environment and Public Health program at the NRDC, in a recent NRDC press statement. “The FDA has an obligation to protect us from toxic food additives.”
Meanwhile, BPA, a known estrogenic mimicker, has been linked in countless and well-respected studies, to a wide and growing array of negative health effects. The ubiquity of BPA, which is used in many, many consumer products, is legendary, making the debate over this chemical heated and significant. Of note, BPA leaches into products, whether heated or cold, and into the skin, from every day items such as paper money, toilet paper, and receipts.
And, as we’ve long written, many experts, citing hundreds of studies, point to BPA’s many links to adverse health effects. For instance, this month, we wrote that BPA may impact uterine health, citing a new study on the industrial chemical that also found that BPA not only affects the heart, brain, and nervous system, the chemical could also affect a mammal’s ability to reproduce, altering the uterus in structural ways that can lead to a potentially deadly infection.
Another recent study revealed a link between BPA exposure and future cardiac issues and followed a similar study that yielded similar results. Another study on which we wrote revealed that small amounts of synthesized substances, such as BPA, are sufficient to mix up the body’s hormones and can trick our fat cells into taking in more fat or confusing the pancreas into releasing too much insulin. Insulin is the hormone responsible to regulate the breakdown of fat and carbohydrates in the body.
We’ve also written about at least two BPA-breast cancer links and links to increased anxiety and depression in preschoolers exposed to BPA in the womb. BPA has been linked to toxic injury and implications in cardiovascular disease, intestinal problems, brain cell connection interference, increased risks of reproductive and immune system diseases and disorders, problems with liver function testing, interruptions in chemotherapy treatment, 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.
Very significantly, the National Institutes of Health recently said that BPA may affect the development of young and unborn children, noted Bloomberg.com.