EPA Takes Action on Gender-Bending BPA

Washington, DC — Almost three months after the Food and Drug Administration took a stance on bisphenol A (BPA) by stating it had some concerns about the widely-used chemical's impacts on human health, another government agency has laid out an action plan to better understand and regulate BPA.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will list BPA as a chemical of concern, require manufacturers to provide test data and help create substitute chemicals.

BPA is a chemical found in some hard plastic bottles, can liners, receipt paper, CDs and numerous other items. Some countries, states and cities have banned its use in baby bottles and other kids' products, and many product makers and retailers have either switched to alternative materials or asked suppliers to stop using it.

The primary concern over the chemical so far has been the impacts it can have on fetuses, infants and children. In lab tests, BPA has been tied to developmental and reproductive problems, cancer, obesity, diabetes and more. It also mimics estrogen, putting it in a category fo chemicals refered to as "gender benders."

Although the FDA can regulate BPA in food packaging, the EPA has the broader ability to regulate the chemical based on it environmental impacts. Releases of BPA into the environment exceed 1 million pounds a year, and tests for the chemical in humans have found it present in nearly every subject.

The EPA said it will add BPA to the list of chemicals of concern that it started late last year based on its potential environmental impacts.

The EPA will also require manufacturers to provide test data that will help the agency evaluate the chemical's long-term impacts on growth, reproduction and development of aquatic organisms and wildlife.

The Design for the Environment program within the EPA will seek out and assess substitutes for BPA and ways to reduce exposures to it.

The agency will also continue studies on BPA, evaluate impacts of BPA on children from non-food packaging exposures and gather information on concentrations of BPA in surface water, ground water and drinking water.

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