FDA Fails to Ban BPA in Food Packaging (NRDC and Non-Toxic Kids Readers React)

The Food and Drug Administration said yesterday, March 30th 2012, it would allow bisphenol A (BPA) to remain in food packaging, an action that keeps the hormone-disrupting chemical linked to cancer, obesity and a host of other health problems in the food supply.

The FDA rejected a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council, while it emphasized it was not making a final determination of BPA’s safety and instead will continue to examine the ongoing research of BPA’s effects on health.

To say that parents, health advocates, and scientists are dismayed, disappointed, and discouraged is no overstatement.

Dr. Sarah Janssen, senior scientist in the public health program at the Natural Resources Defense Council said:

“BPA is a toxic chemical that has no place in our food supply. We believe FDA made the wrong call. The agency has failed to protect our health and safety ­ – in the face of scientific studies that continue to raise disturbing questions about the long-term effects of BPA exposures, especially in fetuses, babies and young children. The FDA is out-of-step with scientific and medical research. This illustrates the need for a major overhaul of how the government protects us against dangerous chemicals.”

I couldn’t agree more with Dr. Janssen’s comments. We had a chance as a country to significantly lessen the exposure of millions of people to a toxic chemical– and improve health outcomes for America’s children.  It was another missed opportunity, and industry again won out over the public health. How long will we continue to let this happen?

The FDA is failing to protect our nation from a chemical known to increase dangerous diseases, worsen behavior in children, and contribute to early puberty. Canada, the European Union, China, and at least five other countries as well as 11 U.S. states, all have prohibited the use of BPA in children’s products.  So why is it okay to have a toxic chemical in other food products for consumption of older children and people?
Here’s what readers of Non-Toxic Kids have to say about this decision:

“It’s discouraging! I still have power though, I choose how, where and what I buy. My dollar will win in the end. Not to mention, as a consumer we have a say in what companies make. I will just keep calling and NOT buying those certain items.”  — Edie

“Why are we, the taxpayers, paying for this government agency when they’re not looking out for the people? Sickening (literally). Just another government agency in the pocket of Big Industry.”  — Michelle

“Not surprising. We are a long way off from getting it banned in Australia. I’ve come to the conclusion that the large manufacturers have more control (and money) than our Government, hence the lack of action.” –Amanda

“Sadly BPA is in a lot of things, receipts, toilet paper, newspapers… It’s sad that they would make an effort to remove it from certain kids/baby products because of it’s toxicity and then leave it in everything else… Another great reason for all of us to take a good hard look at what we eat/drink/buy….” –EcoEnviroGirl

After we lick our wounds a bit, we need to take the power back to the people, like these wise commenters suggest.  By buying products that don’t contain BPA, by calling companies, by writing about this issue and on company’s Facebook pages– we can make small and steady change to protect our kids from this harmful chemical if the government won’t.  And we can try again with the Safe Chemicals Act, so that every chemicals has to be tested and deemed safe BEFORE being put in everyday products.

Just look at the recent news of major soup companies switching from BPA can linings. Your voice does make a difference, even if this weekend, we were let down by an agency that has a mission to protect the public health.

In the meantime– don’t buy canned food (unless you know it is BPA free) , use stainless steel and glass to store your food, and slowly (or quickly, if you can afford it!) move away from using plastics in your kitchen.  You can learn more here and at Mightynest.

What do you think of the FDA’s decision to keep BPA in food packaging?

image: parentables.howstuffworks.com

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