Industry Pushes Back on Proposed BPA Ban

We have long written that industry has continually railed against the science that has found <"">bisphenol A—BPA—the controversial and ubiquitous plastic hardener, to cause negative health effects. Now, writes The Washington Post, the food industry and some large business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are threatening to pull support from a bill that has been pending to improve food safety.

BPA is a plastic hardener used in polycarbonate manufacturing, and is commonly found in the lining of food and beverage cans, paper receipts, a wide array of plastic products, and resins used in nautical paint. BPA in nautical paint presents means the chemical could be linked to high BPA levels found in “beach sand and coastal seawater” worldwide, said USNews previously.

The groups claim concern over a proposed amendment to ban BPA from food and beverage containers, said the Washington Post. Of note, industry continues to site two of its own studies that found BPA to be safe at current levels; however, at last count, over 900 peer-reviewed studies found links between BPA and negative health effects.

The bill in question is the Senate version of legislation that easily passed in the House in 2009, said the Washington Post. The bill is intended to provide the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded authority over the production of food, while giving increased responsibility to manufacturers and farmers to produce food that is not contaminated, wrote the Washington Post.

Hundreds of studies have linked the ubiquitous chemical to a growing number of diseases and disorders and continue to confirm that BPA appears to cause significant disruption to the body’s endocrine system. BPA has also been linked to 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, links with serious health problems, and erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems in males. In urine tests, BPA is found in the overwhelming majority of Americans, more than 93 percent and, significantly, the chemical is found in 90 percent of all newborns.

Now, in a letter to senators Tom Harkin (Democrat-Iowa) and Mike Enzi (Republican-Wyoming), the chairman and ranking minority member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, the business groups wrote that they are in opposition to an amendment by Senator Dianne Feinstein (Democrat-California) to ban BPA from food and beverage containers, said the Washington Post. “We will not support food safety legislation that bans or phases out BPA from any food and beverage container,” said Scott Faber, vice president for federal affairs for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, quoted the Washington Post.

A number of countries, states, and other entities have issued bans on BPA, which imitates the hormone estrogen and acts as an anti-androgen. This means, even in the smallest of amounts, BPA affects sexual development and processes, especially in the bodies of developing fetuses, infants, and children, explained Science Daily previously. Canada was the first country to issue a BPA ban; Denmark recently followed; three U.S. states have issued bans; and France is considering a ban, as is Massachusetts.

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