Monday July 23, 2012
FDA Clears Industry-Requested BPA ‘Ban’By Sean Oberle
A July 17 final rule by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) grants a request from the American Chemistry Council (ACC) to “no longer provide for the use of polycarbonate (PC) resins” in baby bottles and sippy cups. Although the move effectively bans the use of bisphenol-A (BPA) in such products, the action is unlikely to lead to changes by mainstream suppliers.
ACC requested the action last fall (PSL, 10/17/11, p. 4) because of what it said was “confusion” about whether BPA is in baby bottles and sippy cups due to recent bans enacted by numerous states. ACC noted that use stopped several years ago.
In the final rule (see the July 17 Federal Register), FDA concluded that it “reviewed the data and information in the petition and other available relevant material to evaluate whether the use of BPA-based PC resins in the manufacture of baby bottles and sippy cups has been completely and permanently abandoned. Based on the available information, the Agency concludes that these uses have been completely and permanently abandoned. Therefore, the regulations in 21 CFR part 177 should be amended.”
ACC lauded the action with Steven Hentges of its polycarbonate/BPA group stating, “Confusion about whether BPA is used in baby bottles and sippy cups had become an unnecessary distraction to consumers, legislators and state regulators. FDA action on this request now provides certainty that BPA is not used to make the baby bottles and sippy cups on store shelves, either today or in the future.”
Consumers Union treated the move as victory. Jean Halloran, director of its food policy division asserted, “This is a big day for everyone who has worked so hard to get BPA out of our sippy cups and baby bottles, especially the families who have lobbied the government to do the right thing for our kids…This action by the FDA will help protect millions of the most vulnerable Americans.” She tied ACC’s action to a related ban in California last year, but acknowledged that manufacturers already had stopped use.
California’s law (PSL, 10/10/11, p. 1) bars such products with “detectable levels of BPA above 0.1 parts per billion (ppb).” Other states have enacted similar laws. In 2009 (PSL, 3/16/09, p. 6), the six top makers of such products agreed to eliminate BPA at the prodding of state attorneys general in Connecticut, Delaware and New Jersey.