FDA Agrees with Rep. Markey to Ban BPA in Infant Formula

A baby having milk from a bottle.

When the news of toxic BPA leaching into our bodies from plastic first broke over five years ago, the biggest shock was that our babies were being exposed to this hormone-disruptor via baby bottles.  It turns out, baby bottles were not the biggest contributors to BPA exposure in infants, but the true culprit was the containers for infant formula.

Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) has been working tirelessly to remove BPA from all food and beverage containers.  The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is finally responding, at least in regards to infant formula.

In a statement, Markey responded:

 The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted the petition from Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) to revise its regulations, disallowing the use of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in infant formula packaging. According to the notice sent to Rep. Markey, senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over the FDA, within 90 business days the agency will file the petition in the Federal Register, allow and review any public comments, and propose a final rule that will change the regulations so that BPA can no longer be used in packaging of infant formula. This will be the first time the FDA initiated a rule change for infant formula and use of BPA.

New parents should be worried about bibs and bottles not BPA when feeding their babies,” said Rep. Markey. “With FDA finally taking steps to remove BPA from infant formula, feeding time for parent and babies just got much safer. Now that the FDA is moving forward with my petition, industry practice can follow consumer demand and we will be able to close the door on the use of BPA in infant formula forever. Accepting this petition is a good start, but there are many industries that are ignoring consumer concerns and continuing to poison our food supply with this dangerous chemical. There are viable alternatives for BPA in food packaging, and I urge companies to be better corporate citizens and abandon the use of this toxic chemical. I also encourage FDA to complete and make public their long-overdue assessment of BPA’s health impacts, and make clear their next steps for ensuring our entire food supply is free from this damaging chemical.”

Actually, Markey has filed three petitions to remove BPA from ” baby and toddler food packaging, small reusable household food and beverage containers, and canned food packaging”.  It took the FDA three months to respond to Markey’s petitions, and the agency chose only to respond to the infant formula request explaining:

…the FDA could not verify whether the major manufacturers that abandoned BPA’s use and that were included in the petition represented the entire industry responsible for these products. Because some canned food and beverage corporations, including Coca-Cola ConAgra, and Pepsico, have openly opposed transition away from use of BPA, the agency could not move forward with the petition on canned food.

I think this is a lame response.  If certain companies have moved away from BPA in their products without government regulation, certain companies still have not.  Isn’t it the FDA’s job to at least figure that out?

The Environmental Working Group has applauded the FDA’s decision to respond to Markey’s petition to ban BPA in infant formula:

“The most prevalent route of exposure to BPA for babies isn’t a baby bottle, it’s liquid infant formula,” said Sonya Lunder, a senior research analyst with Environmental Working Group. “FDA’s decision to consider removing this highly toxic hormone disruptor as a component in baby food packaging should happened years ago. But that said, this announcement is very welcome news for millions of babies who are formula fed.”

The first step is protecting our babies, which hopefully will lead to protecting the 90% of Americans with detectable BPA in their bodies.

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