The Food and Drug Administration on Friday called for more study of BPA and whether it’s a safety risk, especially for babies and young children.
The agency stopped short of calling for a ban on the substance, bisphenol A, a chemical that hardens plastics. However, the LA Times is reporting Joshua Sharfstein, FDA deputy commissioner, said that for the present, “the FDA does support the use of baby bottles with BPA.”
Food safety advocates are disappointed that the FDA didn’t call for a ban or issue guidelines for parents and pregnant women. Manufacturers have responded to consumer concerns and many claim to have removed BPA from products like baby bottles, sippy cups and other plastic containers commonly found in homes with young children.
The Times also reports that the FDA, the Department of Health and Human Services and some other health agencies have earmarked $30 million for studies of the health effects of BPA. Results are expected in the next two years.
The top six baby bottle manufacturers, who produce nearly 90 percent of baby bottles sold in North America, have voluntarily removed BPA from their products. Still, advocates are concerned about the bottles that are still being sold and already sit in cabinets.
Concern about BPA, which mimics the hormone estrogen, erupted a few years ago, after some studies showed a possible link between the chemical and reproductive abnormalities, and increase risk of cancer and diabetes.
Where do you stand regarding BPA? I remember when those studies were published a few years ago, I gathered up our sippy cups and pitched them. It wasn’t a huge sacrifice, since my youngest then was capable enough to drink out of glass. When I was getting ready for the birth of my son just over a year ago, I bought glass bottles. And when I bought sippy cups for him, I made sure the were BPA-free (actually, I think it would be harder to find ones that aren’t).
I’m not in a full-on panic about BPA, but I figured I’d err on the side of caution. Still, I look forward to getting down to the science on this once and for all. Of course, I also want some certainty on who is behind these future FDA studies, since we’ve learned over the last eight years it’s not exactly an agency without an agenda.