BPA in packaging: A lucrative past, a controversial present, and a tentative future: Page 3 of 4

July 02, 2012

baby food products, and the Japanese canning industry has replaced its BPA-containing resin can liners. The U.S. still allows BPA in baby bottles, but 11 U.S. states have prohibited the use of BPA in children's products.

The FDA states on its website that it, "supports the industry's actions to stop producing BPA-containing baby bottles and infant feeding cups for the U.S. market, along with facilitating the development of alternatives to BPA for the linings of infant formula cans." 

The FDA vs. the NRDC
For decades, the U.S. government has claimed low doses of BPA are safe.

Environment advocacy group The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) calls itself, "the earth's best defense."

In 2008, the NRDC took a stand against BPA as a whole, and asked the FDA to eliminate the chemical from all food packaging.

"Even then, we were confident that there was not enough evidence to conclude that BPA was a safe chemical and therefore should not be in our food supply," said Sarah Janssen, Sr. scientist in the public health program of the NRDC.

When the agency didn't take action, the NRDC sued the FDA in 2011, and asked the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to compel the agency to respond. Later that year, the court issued a consent decree requiring FDA to make a final decision on NRDC's petition by March 31, 2012.

March 31 rolled around, and the FDA ultimately decided not to ban BPA from food packaging. A FDA spokesperson said the decision was "not a final safety determination and the FDA continues to support research examining the safety of BPA, and will make any necessary changes to BPA's status based on the science."

"The FDA denied the NRDC petition because it did not have the scientific data needed for the FDA to change current regulations, which allows the use of BPA in food packaging," the agency stated.

While the FDA said some studies have raised questions as to whether BPA could be associated with a variety of health effects, the agency still has "serious questions about the studies, particularly as they relate to humans and the public health impact of BPA."

FDA is working toward completion of another updated safety review on BPA this year to include all relevant studies and publications, and is also working with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences , which has invested $30 million into research on BPA.

Even before the FDA made its most recent decision, several U.S. companies have already started to remove BPA from its food packaging, such as Hain Celestial, ConAgra, H.J. Heinz, and, to a lesser extent, General Mills and Nestlé. Other U.S. food companies such as Eden Foods, Muir Glen, Edward & Son, Trader Joe's, Vital Choice, Wild Planet Foods, Oregon's Choice Gourmet, and Eco Fish, among others, also package all or part of their product in BPA-free containers.

In addition, some U.S. canned-food manufacturers are voluntarily removing BPA from can linings.

Ron Sasine, senior director of packaging for Walmart, said the retail giant is following the BPA

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