CU & CFA: Materials Made From BPA Should Not Be Used in Food and Beverage Containers

For Immediate Release

Consumers Union and Consumer Federation of America
Contact: 

Dr. Urvashi Rangan, 646.594.0212
Rachel Weintraub, 202.387.6121
Naomi Starkman, 917.539.3924

CU & CFA: Materials Made From BPA Should Not Be Used in Food and Beverage Containers

FDA's Assessment of BPA Is Inadequate Given Mounting Scientific Evidence;

YONKERS, N.Y. - Consumers
Union (CU) and Consumer Federation of America (CFA) today announced
that the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) draft assessment of
bisphenol A (BPA) as safe for food contact applications does not
adequately account for the large body of mounting scientific evidence
to the contrary. In addition, CU and CFA believe that materials made
with BPA should not be used in any food or beverage containers and
should be replaced with safer alternatives. On September 16, Consumers
Union will testify on behalf of both organizations at a public hearing
on this issue before a key FDA panel.

The
FDA said in a report last month that BPA is safe at current levels
found in food products and containers. The FDA report contradicts a
report released in early September from the National Toxicology Program
(NTP), which is part of the National Institutes of Health, and which
held that there is some concern that low-doses of BPA may affect brain,
behavioral and prostate development.

"The
safety of BPA, at current exposure levels in the U.S. population, has
not been demonstrated and the government is giving consumers
contradictory messages about the level of concern," said Dr. Urvashi
Rangan, Senior Scientist and Policy Analyst, Consumers Union, nonprofit
publisher of Consumer Reports. "BPA is metabolized quickly and
yet, constant, elevated levels are circulating in most Americans. This
indicates that consumers are constantly exposed to BPA."

"While
scientists continue to assess the health risks of BPA to consumers, the
FDA is taking on a bigger risk by taking no action to protect the
health and safety of consumers. Consumers expect to buy products that
have a proven safety record, not a lack of proven harm," said Rachel
Weintraub, Director of Product Safety and Senior Counsel for Consumer
Federation of America. "Too many examples of potential risks today
become tomorrow's hazardous reality. FDA should not take that gamble in
the face of mounting evidence of harm."

BPA-a
chemical found in the linings of cans and in many plastic products,
including sports bottles, food-storage containers and baby bottles-has
potential links to a wide range of health effects. Cellular, animals
and some human studies have shown BPA effects on the brain, prostate,
normal hormonal systems, gene programming which can lead to several
problems with reproduction, behavior, insulin resistance and even
cancer. CU was one of the first organizations to test and report on
consumer products with BPA, and warned consumers about the potential
risks almost a decade ago. CU recently tested "BPA-free" claims on
bottles and has also published advice on how consumers can reduce their
exposure to BPA. For more information, please visit the food section of
greenerchoices.org.
Since CU's first study, more than a hundred studies have been published
showing a wide range of adverse effects in animals at low doses of BPA,
doses that approximate current levels circulating in the human
population.

Consumers
Union and Consumer Federation of America are concerned about this
extremely narrow safety margin, and believe that the FDA should use its
full authority to prevent consumers from ingesting constant elevated
levels of BPA by eliminating BPA from food and beverage contact
applications.  In addition, FDA should:

  • Account for the entire body of scientific literature, not only 2-3 studies;
  • Revise its safety threshold calculation;
  • Convene
    independent expert panels with representatives from consumer and
    unbiased scientific groups to discuss how to include important,
    modern-day toxicology tests and results into future risk assessments;
    and
  • Expand the toxicological endpoints required for safety testing.

Congress has also demonstrated concern about this chemical.  Bills
have been introduced, both in the House of Representatives (by Rep.
Edward Markey) and in the Senate (by Senators Schumer and Feinstein) to
ban BPA in various products.

"The
FDA depiction of BPA safety is like a picture taken at very low
resolution where the finer-and perhaps most important features-are
muted," said Rangan. "FDA has the opportunity, and the responsibility,
to consider hundreds of finer studies and to improve their ability to
analyze the problem. In the meantime, FDA should prevent consumers from
ingesting current questionable levels by eliminating the use of BPA
materials used for food and beverage containers."

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