FDA continues dragging its feet on Bisphenol-A decision

Saturday, May 08, 2010 by: David Gutierrez

The FDA has missed three self-imposed deadlines to re-evaluate its approval of the endocrine-disrupting chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA), after originally promising in June 2009 to deliver a finding in “weeks not months.”

BPA is a prevalent industrial chemical used to make plastics hard and transparent, as in food containers, baby bottles or water bottles. It is also an ingredient in resins used to line the inside of food and infant formula cans, and in dental sealants and composites. Evidence continues to mount that the chemical leaches easily from these containers, and that it is found in high amounts in the bodies adults and children. Research has linked the chemical to reproductive defects, behavioral problems, brain dysfunction, and increased risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

In September 2008, the U.S. National Toxicology Program affirmed its concern over the health effects of the widespread chemical, especially in infants and children. The Canadian government has banned its use in infant products, and a number of manufacturers and retailers have voluntarily stopped making or carrying products that use it.

Yet the FDA still officially considers BPA safe, based solely on two industry-funded studies. Responding to criticism that it had failed to properly consider the full body of evidence on the chemical, the FDA announced in June that it would conduct a new review and issue new guidelines within “weeks.”

In August, the agency announced that the findings would be released on November 30. When it became clear that it would miss that deadline as well, the agency pushed the date back to January 1. To date, the agency has yet to issue its findings.

“We believe that FDA has had enough data for a long time to restrict the use of BPA — indeed to ban it in food contact substances,” said Jean Halloran of Consumers Union, “and we are concerned that they have not yet taken action.”

Sources for this story include: www.foodproductiondaily.com.



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