It took the FDA four years to finally ban a substance (BPA) in infant food packaging that has long been known to cause brain damage in developing infants and young children. Industry so controls the U.S. government agency that it took a lawsuit from the National Resources Defense Council to finally force the FDA to rule this summer to ban Bisphenol A (BPA) in infant food packaging. One can only wonder how many babies and infants were developmentally damaged in the interim. Because BPA is also known to cause hormonal problems and worse in adults, it is widely banned in most first-world countries; but in America, where FDA staff enjoy a revolving door relationship with industry, BPA is still widely used in many packaged goods.
The NRDC first filed a petition with the FDA in 2008 requesting that BPA be banned in food packaging, containers and any other material used in packaged food. When the FDA failed to respond for two years, as required by law, the NRDC was forced to sue the agency in 2010. NRDC had to petition the court to demand a response. When the FDA finally did respond, in July 2012, it was forced to rule on the science and ban BPA from infant food packaging. Meanwhile, BPA is still free to disrupt adult hormones and damage adults’ health.
Though BPA can no longer be used in infant formula containers, it is still used in the linings of beer, soda, vegetable and soup cans. It is also used in polycarbonate plastics. You might want to think twice about that reusable water bottle. In addition, consumers have bought up the remaining supply of BPA-tainted baby bottles and sippy cups, so exposure from food packaging will continue for years. BPA is the gift that keeps on giving.
Several studies have reported associations between BPA exposure and adverse health and development effects. Cancer, neurological disorders and physiological defects are just a few tragic results. BPA may also be causing or greatly contributing to our particularly American epidemic of childhood obesity. The rest of the world, which has banned BPA, doesn’t have the tragic childhood (as well as adult) obesity problems our country has.
“Every day, millions of American consumers are exposed to this dangerous chemical, commonly used in packaging for canned foods, beverages and even baby formula,” said Dr. Sarah Janssen, a senior scientist in NRDC’s Environment and Public Health program. . . The FDA has an obligation to protect us from toxic food additives. As thousands of studies have already shown, BPA is a dangerous chemical that has no place in the food chain. Its use in food and beverage containers needs to be banned.”
When is the FDA going to start acting with the best interests of citizens and not of industry? The only way the agency seems to get anything done is when it is dragged kicking and screaming after being petitioned by a consumer group like NRDC. The FDA has a positively scandalous relationship with industry that no doubt embarrasses those with integrity and heart who do their jobs there with the first goal of protecting the public.
“This (banning use in kidddie cups in July) is only a baby step in the fight to eradicate BPA,” said Sarah Janssen, MD, PhD, NRDC senior scientist. “This half-hearted action – taken only after consumers shifted away from BPA in children’s products – is inadequate. FDA continues to dodge the bigger questions of BPA’s safety.”
Here’s the punch line (wait for it): More than 90 percent of Americans are now believed to carry some level of BPA poisoning.
Much of this story comes from an article from Science Daily: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121004200905.htm