It was just two weeks ago that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) quietly decided to delay acting on BPA until the results of additional studies were in ... results that were expected to take months or even years to complete. So the agency's recent announcement came as quite a surprise:

The FDA announced that it now has “some concern” about the effects of bisphenol A on children’s health and is launching new research to answer key questions that may lead to regulation of the chemical. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said that her agency has embraced the conclusion of the National Toxicology Program, which announced two years ago after a review of the science that there is “some concern” about developmental and reproductive problems in infants and children exposed to BPA.

This is a major shift for the FDA because in 2008 it concluded in a draft report that BPA was safe. The agency at that time agreed with the plastics industry, which maintained that the animal studies were flawed and that there was no evidence that human babies were in danger.

Unfortunately, the attitude shift stops there. Hamburg said the FDA will not at this point ban or restrict BPA or recommend that consumers stop buying products that contain it. But the agency, she said, will shift to a more robust oversight of the chemical so that it “can move quickly, if appropriate” once more questions about its possible effects are answered. She said FDA supports attempts by some manufacturers to remove BPA products from the market and search for alternatives in cans.

Photo: barnyardmama/Flickr

Tease photo: thesoftlanding/Flickr