FDA Expresses Concern Over BPA, Plans Further Studies
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it now has concern over the effects of bisphenol A (BPA) on infants and children, but it currently has little power to regulate the use of the chemical.
In an update to its research on BPA, the FDA stated that it agrees with the National Toxicology Program's concern about the effects of BPA on fetuses, infants and young children.
The chemical BPA is widely used in hard plastic bottles and epoxy can liners, as well as other products. In laboratory studies, BPA has been connected to reproductive problems, developmental problems and cancer.
The FDA says it will support food industry actions to remove BPA from baby bottles and feeding cups (some manufacturers and retailers have already taken this step, and some countries, states, cities and other governments have set bans on BPA uses), assist the development of BPA alternatives for use in infant formula can liners and support replacing or minimizing BPA in other food can linings.
The FDA is also undertaking further research on BPA in order to address uncertainties it says exist in some BPA research, such as how lab animals were exposed to BPA and differences in responses to BPA by different species at different ages.
Also, the FDA hopes to change its ability to oversee BPA's use. Because the current uses of BPA in contact with food were approved under food additive regulations more than 40 years ago, the FDA says it is limited in its ability to oversee the chemical. Companies do not need to notify the FDA when they use BPA in products or materials that come into contact with food. The FDA said that it is planning to seek voluntary information from chemical manufacturers about how much BPA they are making and what it's being used in.
There are also hundreds of BPA formulations for epoxy can linings, the FDA says, and banning specific uses could be lengthy. The FDA says that switching to a different framework approach to BPA, such as that of the Food Contact Notification Program that has been in place since 2000, would allow it to have better oversight and be able to take action on the chemical quicker if necessary.