March 31, 2012. That is the date set in stone (at least in court documents) when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must make a decision about banning BPA. The agency has agreed to make a decision after a court settlement reached today between the FDA and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
More than three years ago, the NRDC petitioned the FDA to ban BPA, citing a growing body of research on the subject linking exposure to the chemical to serious health risks. According to the law, the FDA has no more than 180 days to respond to a written petition. When they didn't respond within that time frame, the NRDC sued the agency.
Now, 41 months after filing the petition, the NRDC has forced the FDA to make a decision one way or another regarding BPA. If it's safe enough to be in our food and children's products — fine, the agency needs to go ahead and prove it. If not, the agency needs to ban it. The FDA will have to make this decision by March 31.
"While we are glad FDA is finally going to make a decision BPA in food packaging and this is a major step forward in the legal process, it is discouraging that FDA has not responded and that we had to ask the court to intervene just to get FDA to do its job. The agency has been dragging its feet on making a decision about BPA for far too long," said NRDC blogger, Sarah Janssen.
The settlement, approved by U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones in New York, said the FDA must issue a final decision, not a “tentative response.”