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FDA Bans Bisphenol A in Infant Formula Cans

Manufacturers stopped using chemical for such applications years ago because of consumer pressure

by Britt E. Erickson
July 19, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 29

The Food & Drug Administration has banned the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in epoxy resins that coat infant formula cans, the agency announced in a rule issued July 12. But the move occurs in a product vacuum: The packaging industry—under pressure from consumers concerned about the chemical’s possible estrogenic effects—abandoned such uses of BPA several years ago.

FDA acknowledged that it was acting after the fact and not because of health worries, noting the action is based only “on a determination of abandonment and is not related to the safety of BPA.”

With the ban, the agency was formally responding to a March 2012 petition from then-Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.)—now serving in the Senate—who claimed that industry was no longer using BPA in infant formula packaging. Last year, FDA banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and toddler cups for the same reason.

“FDA’s authority to act on this petition is based solely on marketplace conditions,” says Steven G. Hentges, head of the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group at the American Chemistry Council, an industry group.

Although FDA has repeatedly said that BPA is safe in food packaging, consumer groups and a few lawmakers continue to push for a ban on BPA in all food and beverage containers. Markey has pledged that, as a senator, he will continue his work to ensure that the nation’s entire food supply is BPA-free.


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