Further backing for restrictions in use of BPA

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Bpa Food safety Food

A legislative committee in the US state of Connecticut has unanimously endorsed limitations on making, selling or distributing products in the state made with bisphenol-A (BPA).

BPA is used in baby bottles to make them shatter proof and is also used in the internal protective linings for food and beverage cans. Some studies have claimed the packaging chemical can harm infants.

The House Bill 6572 was passed unanimously by the general law committee and if approved by the general assembly and signed by the state governor, the law would phase in restrictions by 2014 to prohibit making, selling or distributing baby bottles and any food product contained in a jar, can or other container made with BPA in Connecticut.

Labelling requirements

From October 2011, warning labels also would be required on all food products that come in containers made with BPA and sold in Connecticut.

The bill would also prohibit manufacturers from substituting BPA for other substances that are or may be carcinogenic.

Connecticut, California, Oregon, Hawaii and several other states are considering a ban or restrictions on the chemical.

No scientific evidence

However, the American Chemistry Council, which represents suppliers of BPA based packaging, maintains that Connecticut's proposal is not based on scientific facts.

And the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) claims that the totality of the scientific evidence indicates that BPA does not endanger human health at the extremely low levels of exposure that may occur from consumer uses of products made with the packaging component.

The GMA said that the scientific data on BPA has been reviewed by many government agencies including the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as well as scientists around the world, with all supporting the conclusion that the chemical’s use in packaging poses no risk to human health.

Research pending

But not-for-profit organisation, the Consumers Union, recently called on the FDA to ban the packaging chemical in children’s products and food containers, claiming that the regulator has enough scientific data to support such a move.

And the FDA's assessment of BPA last summer has been criticised by scientists and US lawmakers, who claimed that the regulator, in its review of the chemical, should have included independent studies that had raised uncertainties about the effects of low dose exposure to BPA in humans, in particular infants.

The FDA has announced that it is planning to analyze and conduct more research to further determine how BPA affects infants.

However, Dr Urvashi Rangan, senior scientist and policy analyst at the CU, maintains that the FDA should act immediately to protect high risk populations, such as children and babies, while it gathers more data on the packaging chemical.

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