The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has notified Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass.) that it has accepted his petition seeking to prohibit the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in canned infant formula. If the agency is able to complete its scientific review, it will file his petition in the Federal Register within 90 days seeking public comment on whether the industry has actually abandoned this use of the chemical, the ground on which Markey sought the ban.
As noted in Issue 433 of this Update, while FDA has confirmed the chemical’s safety for continued use in food-packaging materials, the American Chemistry Council has asked the agency to prohibit its use in polycarbonate bottles and sippy cups, contending that industry no longer uses BPA in these products. Markey’s petition echoed that rationale in relation to infant-formula packaging. According to a news source, the “abandonment” focus allows government to “sidestep the debate over BPA’s safety and still eliminate its use.” FDA apparently rejected Markey’s related requests that BPA be prohibited in canned foods and beverage packaging and in small reusable household containers, finding that industry has not abandoned this use. See The Washington Post, June 12, 2012; Press Release of Representative Ed Markey, June 13, 2012.