The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially banned bisphenol A, or BPA, from baby bottles and children’s drinking cups. BPA, an an estrogen-mimicking industrial chemical that is used in some plastic bottles and food packaging, has been known to cause health risks, particularly for children.
According to this article in the NY Times, BPA can seep into food, and in 2010, the FDA said that it had “some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children.”
Although manufacturers have already stopped using BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, and the FDA’s decision was in response to a request by the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main trade association, that the rules allowing BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups be phased out in order to boost consumer confidence. The American Chemistry Council had urged the FDA to take official action because of the confusion regarding whether baby bottles and toddler cups contain BPA, despite the fact that manufacturers announced that they have stopped using BPA in baby bottles and toddler cups years ago.
The FDA’s decision does not apply to the use of BPA in other containers. According to FDA spokesman Steven Immergut, the decision does not amount to a reversal of the FDA’s position on the chemical. In 2008, the FDA declared BPA to be safe, but began expressing concerns about possible health risks in 2010.
According to the NY Times article, Michael Taylor, the Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the FDA, said that the decision simply codified what the industry was already doing based on the preference of consumers. Taylor said that the decision did not reflect concerns about the safety of BPA in baby bottles or toddler’s cups.
BPA has been used for more than 50 years in hard plastic bottles, toddler cups, and the linings of food and beverage cans, including those containing infant formula and soda. Until recently, BPA was used in baby bottles as well. Plastic items containing BPA are typically marked with a 7 on the bottom for recycling purposes.
There is currently litigation surrounding the presence of BPA in baby products. But, as we reported, a Missouri federal court recently denied class certification for the group of plaintiffs’ claims over the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. The court denied the request for class certification based on a lack of standing, lack of reliance, and lack of a commonality of claims.