Taking Odds on Possible BPA Ban by FDA
Dec08

Taking Odds on Possible BPA Ban by FDA

The Food and Drug Administration will have to decide by March 31 whether to ban the use of BPA in food and beverage packaging, due to a settlement between the FDA and the watchdog group Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).  Which way will the FDA go? Will it ban BPA? Why or why not? How will the government weigh the science, the economics, industry pressure, non-profit pressure, the lack of well studied alternatives? Even if you are unsure, what odds are you giving the ban? We can assume that food and packaging industries are working on alternatives - and probably already have some, though they may be more expensive or less convenient than BPA. C&EN's coverage of the BPA controversy has been like the epoxy coating on a soup can - pretty darned comprehensive. I was going to post a list of stories, but the search page returned 100 of them. So for timeliness and brevity I direct you to Steve Ritter's two part cover story. Go back and refresh your memory on Debating BPA's Toxicity and Exposure Routes Confound BPA Debate. Or, here's the shortest possible summary of the status right now: NRDC's says that a ban is warranted because it is a "chemical that causes brain damage in developing babies, infants and young children." The American Chemistry Council, the main trade group for U.S. chemical manufacturers, recently agreed that the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups should be banned (though they did so after manufacturers had already stopped using it in those applications). ACC continues to say that BPA is  safe in food and beverage containers. Add your insights to the comments...

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Finally, Peer-reviewed Research on BPA Levels in U.S. Foods
Nov02

Finally, Peer-reviewed Research on BPA Levels in U.S. Foods

It's always heartening to see facts start to catch up to controversy. My colleague Kellyn Betts reports on a new study in Environmental Science & Technology that analyzed a market basket of food products, including canned food, for traces of Bisphenol A. BPA is used as a plasticizer in some food packaging and to make epoxy resins in food cans, and has come under scrutiny for possible health effects, especially on infants and children. C&EN has covered activist, government, and tradegroup takes on the BPA controversy, as well as efforts taken by chemical makers and food brands to do away with BPA. Recently, a survey by Green Century Capital Management found that canned food manufacturers were making real progress replacing BPA. That's why it's rather surprising to read what is now being called the very first peer-reviewed study to look at how much BPA actually migrates into food sold and consumed in the U.S. This seems like vital data that would be needed to make public policy decisions. One area of controversy, for example, is whether the EPA's recommended limit for BPA consumption is too high. So it's helpful to note that the research suggests a U.S. consumer's possible "body burden" of BPA is below the recommended threshold, but perhaps at or above a threshold where there may be...

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