New legislation has been proposed in the U.S. Senate that would require any food container made with the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) should come with a warning label.
The BPA in Food Packaging Right to Know Act calls for food packaging to include a label that says: “This food packaging contains BPA, an endocrine disrupting chemical according to the National Institutes of Health.”
The bill, sponsored by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), also includes a directive to the US Department of Health and Human Services to conduct an assessment of food safety containers made from BPA in order to determine whether low-dose, long-term exposure to the chemical could cause future negative health complications for consumers.
“Consumers deserve to know if the items they frequently purchase at the grocery store could expose them and their families to BPA,” Sen. Feinstein said. “This straightforward bill would simply require packaging that contains BPA to be labelled so that consumers can make the best decisions for their families.”
“This bill is an incredible disservice to public health because it ignores expert analysis of unbiased government scientists around the globe concluding that BPA is safe,” commented Steven Hentges, Ph.D, a member of the American Chemistry Council’s Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group.
Hentges added that The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and The European Food Safety Authority (Efsa) have “clearly and unequivocally” said that BPA is safe for use in food containers and other consumer materials. “Within the past two weeks, similar organizations in Germany and New Zealand have joined others around the world and publicly declared that BPA is safe at current exposure levels,” he said.
North American Metal Packaging Alliance’s Executive Director Kathleen Roberts said that the bill is “inappropriate”, given the recent FDA finding that BPA in food contact materials posed no concerns. “We question why we would label something if the FDA has already determined it to be safe” said Roberts.
Environmental advocacy groups such as the Environmental Working Group have applauded the legislation and are supporting it however.
“BPA is an endocrine disruptor that has no place in our food or food packaging,” commented Sonya Lunder a Senior Analyst for the organization.
The Feinstein/Leahy bill would guarantee “disclosure and safety measures are in place to better protect people from this dangerous chemical. It is unfortunate that the FDA is ignoring an enormous amount of scientific evidence that points out the dangers of BPA. Hundreds of independent scientists disagree with the agency, which persists in relying on flawed, outdated and inadequate methods for assessing the toxicity of hormone disruptors,” Lunder commented.
BPA was listed as a reproductive toxicant under Proposition 65 for approximately one week in 2013. One week after BPA was listed Sacramento Superior Court Judge Raymond Cadai issued a preliminary injunction requiring California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to withdraw its listing.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley on December 14, 2014 ruled OEHHA did not abuse its discretion when it listed BPA in 2013. The court is keeping in place the preliminary injunction it previously issued until the expiration of the period for the American Chemistry Council to file a notice of appeal. OEHHA may move forward with its proposed listing at that time.
The case cited by this article is: American Chemistry Council v. OEHHA (Sac. Superior Ct. Case No. 34-2013-00140720).