Myth: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared that BPA is safe in January of 2010.
Fact: In January 2010, the FDA changed its position on BPA and now agrees with the National Institutes of Health that BPA is a health concern.
The FDA’s website states:
“FDA shares the perspective of the National Toxicology Program that recent studies provide reason for some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children.”
- “FDA is taking reasonable steps to reduce human exposure to BPA in the food supply. These steps include:
- supporting the industry’s actions to stop producing BPA-containing baby bottles and infant feeding cups for the U.S. market;
- facilitating the development of alternatives to BPA for the linings of infant formula cans; and
- supporting efforts to replace BPA or minimize BPA levels in other food can linings.
- FDA is supporting a shift to a more robust regulatory framework for oversight of BPA.”
Myth: FDA’s Dr. Joshua Sharfstein stated during a press conference regarding the change in the agency’s position on BPA is that “FDA does support the use of baby bottles with BPA.”
Fact: This statement was retracted by Dr. Sharfstein in a follow-up interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel posted January 15, 2010.
“In a conference call with the media Friday, Joshua Sharfstein, the FDA’s principal deputy commissioner, added confusion to the announcement by saying that the FDA supported the use of BPA in baby bottles. Industry executives were quick to quote him. But Sharfstein later called the newspaper to clarify. “We do not support BPA in baby bottles,” he said. “We support companies that remove BPA from baby bottles. I apologize for the confusion.” (emphasis added)
Myth: Countries around the world have assessed the science and determined that BPA is safe.
Fact: Countries around the world are banning BPA in children’s products because of safety concerns.
- European Union: The European Commission has decided to temporarily ban BPA use in baby bottles due to concerns about the effects of BPA on brain, immune effects and enhanced susceptibility to breast tumors, taking into account the EFSA Sept. 2010 opinion that industry cites as saying BPA is safe. The ban goes into effect June 1, 2011.
- France: Temporarily banned BPA in baby bottles (July 2010), based on two opinions of French Food Safety Authority (AFSSA), which raised concerns about behavioral effects of low doses on newborn rats exposed in utero and during first few months of life.
- Denmark: Temporarily banned the use of BPA in any plastic materials in contact with food intended for children ages 0-3, based on risk assessment from National Food Institute at the Technical University of Denmark (March 2010).
- Germany: The German Environment Agency has formally advised “manufacturers, importers and users of bisphenol A to use alternative substances that pose less risk to human health and the environment in all areas of use that significantly contribute to exposure.“
- Australia: In June of 2010 June 30, 2010 Australia announced a voluntary ban on BPA in baby bottles. “Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Health announced the phase out of chemical, bisphenol-A (BPA) in baby bottles by major retailers1.The voluntary phase out is the result of months of constructive discussions between the Australian Government and retailers”
- Japan: Japanese manufacturers began to take voluntary action to reduce BPA exposure in foods more than a decade ago, in light of growing government and public concerns. In fact, they have changed the resin formulations used in cans as well as many plastics. Studies have shown drops in the levels of urinary BPA in Japanese adults as a result of these voluntary initiatives.
- Canada: In 2010 Canada formally declared BPA a toxic substance, with the Minister of Health declaring “Our science indicated that Bisphenol A may be harmful to both human health and the environment.” Canada has since banned BPA in baby bottles and is working to restrict the chemical in infant formula.
Myth: The World Health Organization has no concerns about BPA.
Fact: The 2010 WHO/FAO report does cite concerns regarding the safety of BPA across a variety of endpoints while noting that a “safe” exposure level cannot be calculated at this time.
The WHO/FAO report also points to limitations in the US FDA current “safety limit” for BPA. The report makes the following point about the industry studies that were used to calculate this limit:
“These studies are generally considered to be statistically and methodologically sound for the end-points investigated and have sufficient dose groups to support dose–response modelling. However, the changes in brain development, animal behaviour and prostate and mammary gland tissue, suggested in recent research reports as potential effects of exposures to BPA closer to ambient levels, were not investigated in these studies.”
Myth: California has concluded that BPA should not be listed as a reproductive toxin under Proposition 65.
Fact: California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment is proceeding with a listing of BPA as a reproductive toxin under Proposition 65.
- There are four mechanisms to list chemicals under Proposition 65, each are separate and distinct, with none taking preference over another.
- Under one of these mechanisms, if a qualified scientific entity (designated an “authoritative body”) finds sufficient concern about a chemical, that chemical can be listed under Proposition 65.
- The National Toxicology Program (NTP) is considered an “authoritative body” under Proposition 65 regulations, and NTP has formally designated BPA as a chemical of some concern so OEHHA is proceeding with listing the chemical as a reproductive toxin.
Myth: The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not proposed any actions to take against BPA.
Fact: Because BPA is a “reproductive, developmental, and systemic toxicant,” the EPA has formally designated BPA as a chemical of concern. The EPA has also laid out several action steps, including actions to remove BPA from cash register receipts and other “thermal paper.” More information at: http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/existingchemicals/pubs/actionplans/bpa.html
Myth: Existing food safety programs are already precautionary as they use large safety factors to create a margin of safety between public exposure.
Fact: The safe “limits” used by the FDA and some other food safety programs are derived from a few high-dose studies. As noted above, the World Health Organization has pointed out that these studies have not looked at some of the health problems that are of most concern, including changes in brain development, animal behavior, and mammary and prostate gland tissue. Therefore, any calculations about the amount of food or formula that could be consumed safely cannot be trusted.
Myth: Alternatives are not available on the market.
Fact: There are now a variety of different packaging options already on the market for liquid infant formula, including small and large plastic bottles, and small and medium sized glass bottles. There is no need to use metal cans for packaging. FDA research shows that almost all powdered formula does not contain BPA, so packaging is not an issue for powdered formula. Most major manufacturers of baby bottles no longer use BPA.
Myth: AB 1319 conflicts with the Green Chemistry Program and/or in some way overrides its decision-making capabilites.
Fact: AB 1319 includes a provision that expressly allows the Green Chemistry Program to look at the science of BPA and have any decision that is made regarding BPA in children’s products override the requirements of the bill.