FDA Keeps BPA in Food, Fails Public Health Again

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Common Dreams

FDA Keeps BPA in Food, Fails Public Health Again

'FDA should remove "responsible for protecting the public health" from its mission statement'

by
Common Dreams staff

Today the Food and Drug Administration has announced that it will not take steps to bar bisphenol-A, or BPA, a known toxic chemical, from canned food and liquid infant formula containers.

Studies show that BPA leaches from epoxy linings of cans into food and drink, and resurfaces in breast milk, saliva, urine, amniotic fluid and umbilical cord blood; the contamination is linked to many health problems including birth defects.

Jane Houlihan, Senior Vice President for Research of the Environmental Working Group today stated, “The next decision the FDA should make is to remove ‘responsible for protecting the public health’ from its mission statement. It’s false advertising. Allowing a chemical as toxic as BPA, and linked to so many serious health problems, to remain in food means the agency has veered dangerously off course.”

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FDA Keeps Toxic Plastic Chemical in Food, Infant Formula (Environmental Working Group):

Once again, the federal agency charged with protecting the public from tainted food has ignored a mountain of scientific research and decided to allow a toxic chemical to remain in food packaging.[...]

The FDA’s decision comes five years since Environmental Working Group’s groundbreaking 2007 study showed that leached from epoxy linings of cans into surrounding food and drink. EWG’s tests showed the highest concentrations of the chemical, a synthetic estrogen, in canned soup, pasta and infant formula. [...]

The chemical has been associated with many health problems, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, insulin resistance, reproductive defects, diabetes and miscarriages.

“Pregnant women and new parents should no longer think FDA has their backs,” said Houlihan.

FDA’s decision comes just weeks after a landmark three-year study published by The Endocrine Society found low dose exposures to endocrine disrupting chemicals, including BPA, do produce significant, adverse health effects in people. The report rebuts the chemical and food industries’ arguments that people are exposed to too little BPA to do harm.

“When the most populous state in the country, California, and the world’s largest soup maker, Campbell’s, are both taking steps to reduce BPA in people’s diets, you’d think the FDA would join in,” said Houlihan. “The FDA and chemical industry lobbyists may soon be the only ones left to defend the use of this synthetic hormone in food containers.”

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FDA Rejects Call to Ban BPA from Food Packaging (Associated Press):

The Food and Drug Administration has rejected a petition from environmentalists that would have banned the plastic-hardening chemical bisphenol-A from all food and drink packaging, including plastic bottles and canned food [...]

About 90 percent of Americans have traces of BPA in their bodies, mainly because it leaches out of bottles, canned food and other food containers.

Some scientists believe exposure to BPA can harm the reproductive and nervous systems, particularly in babies and small children, potentially leading to cancer and other diseases. They point to results from dozens of BPA studies in rodents and other animals. [...]

Many companies have already responded to consumer demand by removing BPA from their products. In 2008, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Toys "R'' Us said they began phasing out bottles, sippy cups and other children's items containing BPA. By the end of 2009, the six leading makers of baby bottles in the U.S. went BPA-free. Earlier this month Campbell's Soup said it would begin removing BPA from its most popular soups, though it did not set a time frame.

But the vast majority of canned goods in the U.S. are still sealed with resin that contains BPA to prevent contamination and spoiling. Canned food manufacturers have used the chemicals since the 1950s, and the practice is approved by the FDA.

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