F.D.A. agrees to decide on BPA's fate by March 2012

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration said it will decide by March 31, 2012, whether it will ban bisphenol A, or BPA, from use in packaging for food and beverages. The decision comes following a settlement reached Dec. 7 with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“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 Sarah Janssen, a senior scientist in the Environment and Public Health program at the N.R.D.C. “The F.D.A. 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.”

The N.R.D.C. in 2008 filed a petition with the F.D.A. requesting a ban on BPA in food packaging, food containers and any material likely to come in contact with food, but following no response the N.R.D.C. followed up with a lawsuit in 2010 asking the court to require the agency to respond.

In 2010, the F.D.A. acknowledged it had “some concerns” about BPA’s effects on the brain, behavior and prostate glands in fetuses, infants and young children. The agency has supported some steps to reduce BPA exposure but has not banned the chemical’s use.

The N.R.D.C. is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.3 million members and on-line activists.

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