BPA update: what you need to know 7/12
Bisphenol A (BPA), which has been used for years in clear plastic bottles and food-can liners, has been restricted in Canada and some U.S. states and municipalities because of potential health effects. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not yet decided what it considers a safe level of exposure to BPA, which some studies have linked to reproductive abnormalities and a heightened risk of breast and prostate cancers, diabetes, and heart disease.
FDA action on BPA
Consumers Union has repeatedly called on the FDA to ban BPA in children’s products and food and beverage containers. While the agency announced in July 2012 that it bans BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, it fell short of calling for a ban of the chemical in can linings and other food contact substances.
Consumers Union remains in favor of a broader ban as are other consumer and environmental groups. (See "Consumers Union Urges FDA to Remove BPA from Food & Beverage Containers 5/11")
In May 2011 FDA scientists reported on new tests of BPA in sonme of the most popularly consumed canned foods. They found BPA in 71 out of 78 canned goods sampled -- about 90%. The tests showed BPA was in canned peas, green beans, chile, pasta and fruit. But the concentration of BPA in the items varied widely-- sometimes the levels were very high, and sometimes low for the same food.
For example, one can of peas contained BPA at many times times the concentration of another. Pasta, pork and beans, chile and soups tended to contain BPA at levels between 10 - 80 parts per billion. They also tested frozen green beans and peas that had been sold in plastic bags as a potential control. Neither frozen veggies contained BPA.
While the scientists said "no clear trends" emerged from the research, the tests supported the earlier findings that canned food may be a significant source of human exposure to BPA.
What you can do
Many states have responded to increased social awareness and mounting scientific evidence to the dangers of Bisphenol A (BPA) by introducing legislation that would ban the chemical from kids’ products.
To find out about your state and what you can do, visit the Consumers Union campaign web site Buy Safe, Eat Well which has a special section on BPA.
Consumers who are concerned might be able to reduce, though not necessarily eliminate, their dietary exposure to BPA by taking the following steps:
• Choose fresh food whenever possible.
• Consider alternatives to canned food.
• Use glass containers when heating food in microwave ovens.
BPA in the news
"F.D.A. Makes It Official: BPA Can't Be Used in Baby Bottles and Cups," The New York TImes, July 17, 2012.
"NRDC, FDA Reach Settlement in BPA Lawsuit: Agency Set to Make Decision on BPA Ban from Food Packaging by March 3", December 7, 2011
"Governor Brown it's up to you to ban BPA in baby bottles" by Elisa Odabashian, Huffington Post, Sept. 20, 2011
"Some aluminum water bottles still contain BPA" July 21, 2011
"Winning the BPA battle state by state" June 24, 2011
"BPA Makes Male Mice Less Macho" by Janet Raloff, Science News, July 30, 2011
"American Medical Association supports ban on baby products containing BPA and labeling of products containing BPA," by Pamela Lewis Dolan, AMedNews, July 4, 2011
"Hitting the Bottle" Op-ed, New York Times, by Dominique Browning, 5/8/11
"BPA Ban in Maine" Consumers Union 4/27/11
"Study links increased BPA exposure to reduced egg quality in women" 12/15/10
"Europe votes to ban chemical from baby bottles," Liz Szabo, USA Today, November 29, 2010
BPA amendent to Food Safety Bill withdrawn by Sen. Feinstein on Nov. 17, 2010
Sen.Feinstein's Op-ed on food safety blasts California for not passing BPA ban 9/10
FDA expresses "some concern" but fails to ban BPA 1/10
Industry reacts to Consumer Reports' BPA report 11/09
Concern over canned foods 12/09
Testing for BPA in canned foods 11/09
Industry plots BPA defense 6/09
Minnesota and Chicago ban BPA 5/09
Minnesota becomes first state to ban BPA 5/09
Major baby bottle manufacturers agree to ban BPA 3/09
A vote to ban BPA 3/09
FDA scheduled to update public on BPA 2/09
Canada pushes forward with BPA ban; will U.S. follow suit? 11/08
Inside CR test labs: Coffeemakers 11/08
Update on bisphenol A 10/08
Study finds more cause for concern over bisphenol A in plastic bottles, containers 9/08
New science on BPA meets outdated analysis at FDA 9/08
Baby bottles without BPA 8/08
How safe is that plastic container? 8/08
A new focus on plastic ingredients in bottles and cans 5/08
Canada may designate BPA a toxic substance 4/08
Q&A: BPA in baby bottles 3/08
Baby alert: New findings about plastics 5/99
Press releases and public comments
Formula containers shouldn't be made with BPA, says CU 7/12
Consumers Union Praises FDA Action to Ban BPA in Baby Bottles, Sippy Cups 7/12
FDA fails to ban BPA, rejects petition 3/12
Consumers Union Heralds Historic Passage of BPA Ban in California 10/11
CU Urges CA Governor to Sign BPA Ban into Law 9/11
CU Commends CA CA State Assembly for Passing BPA Ban; Urges Governor Brown to Sign Into Law--
Five Year Effort Finally Results in BPA Ban Bill Being Sent to California Governor 9/11
Consumers Union & Environmental Working Group Commend CA Senate Health Committee for Passing BPA Ban; Urge Swift Passage by Senate 6/11
New FDA Findings on Bisphenol-A in Canned Food Heighten Concerns about Safety
Consumers Union Urges FDA to Remove BPA from Food & Beverage Containers 5/11
CU letter rebuts groups opposed to California bill banning toxics in children's products 4/11
CU testimony on "Designation of Bisphenol A as a Priority Chemical and Regulation of Bisphenol A in Children's Products, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Environmental Protection" 3/11
Consumers Union Disappointed with FDA's Action on BPA, Despite Admission of "Some Concern" 1/10
Consumer Reports tests find wide range of BPA in canned soups, juice, and more 11/09
Consumers Union's letter to FDA on BPA found in canned foods 11/09
Detailed table of BPA levels found by Consumer Reports in canned foods submitted to FDA 11/09
Consumers Union commends Minnesota for leadership in banning BPA 5/09
Consumers Union hails landmark enactment of legislation banning BPA in Suffolk County, NY 4/09
Consumers Union hails passage of landmark legislation banning BPA in Suffolk County, NY 3/09
Consumers Union urges FDA to ban BPA in children's products 12/08
Consumers Union's written testimony to FDA on BPA 9/08
Consumers Union & CFA: Materials made from BPA should not be used in food and beverage containers 9/08
Some well-known holiday canned foods contain BPA 11/11
China bans BPA from plastic baby bottles 6/11
"BPA Ban to become law" Bangor Daily News, April 23, 2011
FDA acknowledges BPA risks—but falls short 2/10
The Leonard Lopate Show, Please explain: BPA 2/10
NBC Today Show, Concerns about BPA in plastic bottles 1/10
ABC Good Morning America, BPA dangers in your pantry 11/09
CNN, New fuel for BPA debate 11/09
ABC World News Tonight, BPA found in 19 name brand foods 11/09
NBC Nightly News, BPA found in wide range of canned foods 11/09
Last updated July 2012