July 17, 2012

BPA ban on baby bottles, cups

The US Food and Drug Administration finally ruled today under its food additive regulations that manufacturers of polycarbonate baby bottles and sippy cups (including closures and lids) should no longer use bisphenol-A (BPA) as an additive.

This action is in response to the American Chemistry Council's (ACC) petition to amend the food additive regulation given that BPA use for these products has already been abandoned.

For a chemical explanation on the use of BPA in polycarbonate resin - the resins are formed
by the condensation of 4,4′- isopropylenediphenol (such as BPA), and carbonyl chloride or
diphenyl carbonate.

According to the ACC petition, companies that produce PC resins claim that baby bottles and sippy cups manufactured from PC resins are no longer being introduced into the U.S. market and that manufacturers of baby bottles and sippy cups have abandoned the use of PC resins in making these products.

An industry poll by the ACC also noted that PC resin manufacturers, which represent over 97% of worldwide PC resin production capacity, are no longer selling PC resins to be used in the manufacture of baby bottles and sippy cups intended for import into the United States or sale
in the U.S. market.
“Although governments around the world continue to support the safety of BPA in food contact materials, confusion about whether BPA is used in baby bottles and sippy cups had become an unnecessary distraction to consumers, legislators and state regulators,” said Steven G. Hentges, Ph.D., of the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group of ACC.
“FDA action on this request now provides certainty that BPA is not used to make the baby bottles and sippy cups on store shelves, either today or in the future.”
Still, the use of BPA-based epoxy resins as coatings in canned packaging is still being criticized by advocacy groups.

Also today, the FDA's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) received yet another petition this time from the US representative Edward J. Markey (D-Massachusetts) to ban BPA from infant formula packaging.

The FDA is now calling for comments until September 17, 2012 on the lawmaker's petition.

In March 2012, Representative Markey sent three separate petitions to the FDA requesting the agency permanently remove regulatory approval for the use of BPA in baby and toddler food packaging, small reusable household food and beverage containers, and canned food packaging on the grounds that manufacturers have abandoned use of BPA in these products.
“With the FDA moving forward with my petition, and coupled with the American Chemistry Council petition to end the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, industry practice can follow consumer demand, and we will be able to end the use of BPA in infant formula forever. There are viable alternatives for BPA in food packaging, and I urge companies to stop poisoning our food supply with this dangerous chemical. FDA now must complete and make public their long overdue assessment of BPA’s health impacts and make clear its next steps for ensuring our entire food supply is free from this damaging chemical.” - Rep. Markey
According to Markey, canned food and beverage companies like Coca-Cola, ConAgra and Pepsico have openly opposed transition away from use of BPA.

It has been a while since the blog covered the BPA issue. For more background, here are some of our past posts on BPA.

ADM offers bio-isosorbide as BPA alternative

Eastman's 50-yr old BPA-free Tritan

BPA Q&A with metal packaging group

Corn-based BPA alternative

A chemical consultant's view on BPA

EPA moves in on BPA

BPA-free baby bowl 

FDA supports reduced BPA use
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