Last week brought some good news and some bad news on the BPA front. I'll start with the bad news:
A new bipartisan deal in Congress on food safety legislation means that the Food Safety Modernization Act won't include limits to ban BPA. A number of studies have linked BPA to developmental and behavioral problems in children, and as the controversial chemical is found in everything from baby bottles to teethers to canned food products, campaigns have been underway for some time to ban it from any kind of food container that might leach it.
To date, several states have taken up proposals to ban the chemical from packaging, but as of last week, the legislation that would have placed a nationwide ban on BPA went through, but without the BPA ban. Industry groups had threatened to withhold their support from the bill if such a ban were included.
Still there is a glimmer of hope in some good news...
California's Sen. Dianne Feinstein has vowed to pursue a vote on banning BPA from children's food and drink containers.
"I believe that we need legislation to protect consumers, especially babies and toddlers, from harmful chemicals," Feinstein said. "Because of their smaller size and stage of development, babies and children are particularly at risk from the harmful health effects of BPA."
The amendment Feinstein aims to bring up during the food safety debate does not go as far as earlier stand-alone legislation she introduced to ban BPA from all food and drink packaging. But at least it's something. What does the new amendment include? Feinsten's amendment would:
- Ban the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups within six months of enactment.
- Ban BPA in baby food and infant formula within 6 months of enactment.
- Require the Food and Drug Administration to issue a safety assessment on BPA by December 31, 2010 for all products containing BPA.