The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has seen a change in leadership that has prompted a review of its long-held stance about insufficient data available to support a ban on the use of bisphenol A in food packaging, in particular, baby bottles. A decision will be made by 30 November on “how to proceed” after receiving a draft report and recommendations from the agency’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. The willingness to look at additional scientific data is an “about turn” from its views 8 months ago, when FDA reiterated its long-held stance that there was not enough data to support a ban on BPA in food packaging.
Earlier this year, Connecticut, Minnesota, Chicago and the Suffolk County area of New York banned the sale of polycarbonate baby bottles, food containers and cups that contain BPA. The Suffolk County ban went into effect in July 2009, the ban in Minnesota and Chicago will be in effect in 2010, and Connecticut in 2011. The Connecticut ban also applies to infant formula cans and all reusable food and beverage containers. A proposed ban is pending in the California legislature.
The agency had received stinging criticism in October for rejecting a report by an FDA Science Board subcommittee which said that FDA’s position that BPA is not harmful ignores critical studies and that the margins of safety the agency defines as adequate “are, in fact, inadequate.” Eleven safety agencies around the world have said that BPA is safe for use in food contact applications