After a long delay, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finally updated its position on bisphenol A (BPA)! On Friday, the FDA declared there’s now “some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children.”

This new stance is a big change from last year, when the FDA declared that BPA and food and liquid containers didn’t pose any health risks — which created an outcry about the FDA’s choice to base its decision on BPA industry-funded studies. Now, the FDA’s admitting that decision may have been faulty.

The bad news: The FDA’s not banning or regulating BPA as of now, but instead awaiting more studies.

In the meantime, the government agency’s relying on voluntary measures from industries that use BPA. The FDA is now “supporting the industry’s actions to stop producing BPA-containing baby bottles and infant feeding cups for the U.S. market.” And in the absence of industry regulation, the Department of Health is recommending consumer action like avoiding scratched plastic baby bottles and cups.

While environmental health advocates are understandably antsy to see a real crackdown on BPA, the FDA’s new position has many feeling hopeful. Elaine Shannon of the nonprofit Environmental Working Group says it’s just a matter of time before BPA’s banished from food containers:

Looking down the road, we don’t know when, exactly, the FDA is going to take action on this worrisome endocrine system-disrupting chemical. But one way or another, we think its days in bottles and cans are numbered.
When will the FDA finally finish doing research and start enforcing regulation? The Associated Press reports that the FDA, Department of Health, and other agencies will use “$30 million in funding over the next 18 to 24 months to further assess the chemical in animal and human studies.”

Also on MNN:

FDA 'concerned' about BPA in baby products
The FDA now recommends decreasing exposure to BPA -- but will still rely on voluntary measures to limit use of the chemical.