U.S. bill would ban BPA; Europe and Australia find no risk
Source of Article: http://members.ift.org/IFT/Pubs/Newsletters/weekly/nl_032509.htm
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass.), and Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have introduced H.R. 1523—the Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2009—to establish a federal ban on the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in all food and beverage containers. According to the lawmakers, there are scientific papers that have shown evidence of adverse health effects related to BPA. In addition, the National Toxicology Program in the Dept. of Health and Human Services has cited “some concern” that BPA may affect neural development in fetuses, infants, and children at current human levels.
“There have been enough warning signs about the dangers of BPA that we cannot wait to act,” said Schumer. “It’s better safe than sorry. Many manufacturers and retailers have already recognized the danger and have taken steps to get kids' products containing BPA off store shelves.” In fact, according to a WebMD article, earlier in March the top six makers of U.S. baby bottles—Avent, Disney First Years, Gerber, Dr. Brown, Playtex, and Evenflo—agreed to stop using the chemical in their bottles.
The bill would require that reusable beverage containers (including baby bottles and thermoses) that contain BPA not be sold, while other food and beverage containers (such as canned food or formula) containing BPA not be introduced into commerce. Under the bill, if a manufacturer can show that there is no technology available to make a particular food or beverage without the use of BPA, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration can issue renewable one-year waivers to the ban for that particular food or beverage. However, the food and beverage container would have to be labeled to indicate that BPA was used. If the bill, which was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on March 16, is passed, the ban would take effect 180 days from enactment.
Meanwhile, Australia and New Zealand have gone on record in affirming the safety of bisphenol A and stating their concurrence with the findings of the FDA and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), an independent statutory agency responsible for setting food standards in the two countries, issued an unequivocal statement that BPA does not cause cancer nor do low levels of exposure to BPA pose a significant health risk.
EFSA recently completed a review of the scientific literature for BPA and determined a maximum daily ‘safe limit’ for BPA. They concluded that the estimated total daily intake of BPA by a bottle-fed baby would be less than 10% of the ‘safe level’ for babies, when the bottles were cleaned using normal domestic conditions, and about 20% of the ‘safe limit,’ when the bottles were cleaned under exaggerated conditions including the use of boiling water or strong solvents. In adults, the estimated daily intake from canned foods and beverages would be about 5% of the ‘safe limit.’ Also, a draft review by the FDA determined that intakes of BPA for the most vulnerable segments of the population were well within the safe level.
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