FDA Bans BPA In Baby Bottles
However, They Maintain Plastic Additive Is Safe
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the controversial chemical bisphenol A – commonly known as BPA – from being used in baby bottles and sippy cups, but the agency is maintaining its long-held stance that the plastic additive is safe. The ban, made at the request of the American Chemistry Council, will not significantly affect manufacturers, which have already largely eliminated the chemical from bottles. The Council had reportedly sought the ban to try to stop negative publicity related to BPA and to reassure the American public that plastic baby bottles, in particular, pose no health risks to infants.
"Consumers can be confident that these products do not contain BPA," said FDA spokesperson Allen Curtis, in a statement. "The agency continues to support the safety of BPA for use in products that hold food."
Specifically, according to the FDA, the new ban does not apply to packaging, including canned food, water bottles and baby formula containers. To prevent contamination and spoiling, most canned goods made in the U.S. are sealed with resin that contains BPA, an FDA-approved practice that's been in place since the 1950s. As a result, it's been estimated in studies that at least 90% of Americans have measurable levels of BPA in their bodies.
Still, consumer advocacy groups have been pushing for a BPA ban for years, citing animal research that has tied exposure to the chemical to disruptions in reproductive and nervous-system development. In children, observational studies have also shown BPA exposure can lead to behavior issues and even asthma. Congress is considering legislation that would place tougher restrictions on BPA usage, although experts say the FDA ban may slow the progress of such measures. The FDA, meanwhile, continues to research BPA and is itself spending roughly $30 million to study the chemical's health effects on people.