Legislation to ban bisphenol A (BPA) from food and beverage containers could ‘push America backward in public health’, according to the North American Metal Packaging Alliance (NAMPA).
Senator Edward Markey and Representatives Lois Capps and Grace Meng introduced the legislation in the House and the Senate and said it includes provisions to protect men and women who work in factories where food containers are made and packed.
The Ban Poisonous Additives Act (BPA Act) requires within 180 days of enactment that reusable food and beverage containers (such as Thermoses) that contain BPA cannot be sold, and other food and beverage containers containing the substance cannot be introduced into commerce.
BPA is the building block for polycarbonate plastic and used in the epoxy resin linings of metal food and beverage cans.
NAMPA perplexed at legislation
Dr John Rost, NAMPA’s chairman, said it was perplexed as to why the senator and his supporters believe it is necessary.
“The US Food and Drug Administration, the European Food Safety Authority, Health Canada, and many other international regulatory bodies have repeatedly reviewed the extensive body of research and all concur BPA is safe to use in food packaging,” he said.
“NAMPA also is seriously concerned that the legislation makes no reference to the importance of food packaging coatings for food safety, nor does the bill require that potential alternatives provide the same level of safety as provided by current technology.
“This bill would not result in increased consumer safety and in fact, may instead push America backward in public health.”
Conditions of the act
The act says that if a manufacturer can show that there is no technology available to contain a food or beverage without the use of BPA, the FDA can issue renewable one-year waivers for that particular or similar group of food or beverage containers.
This is as long as the food or beverage container (or group of similar food or beverage containers) has a label indicating that BPA was used and that it can have adverse health impacts, and the manufacturer submits a plan and timeline for complying with the ban.
Senator Markey said that doctors, researchers, parents and consumers all know that BPA is dangerous for our bodies, especially for infants and young children and workers.
“It’s time to take the worry out of the workplace for our factory workers by taking the BPA out of canned goods and other food and beverage containers.
“The Ban Poisonous Additives Act will help ensure that our factories and our entire food supply are free from this damaging chemical. It’s time to ban BPA and move to safer alternatives.”
It encourages FDA to ensure that substances being used instead are safer for human health.
The FDA must also periodically review the list of substances that have been deemed safe for use in food and beverage containers in order to determine whether new scientific evidence exists that the substance may pose adverse health risks
ACC: Unnecessary legislation
Steven G. Hentges, of the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group of the American Chemistry Council, said the Markey legislation is unnecessary and unwarranted.
“Senator Markey has unfortunately chosen to reintroduce unnecessary legislation that ignores the expert analysis of government scientists at the FDA, which strongly supports the continued use of BPA in food-contact materials,” he said.
“FDA’s findings from its recent scientific review are consistent with the consensus of major government agencies around the world, including the European Food Safety Authority, the Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. All conclude that BPA is safe for use in food-contact materials.”
A letter of endorsement for the legislation was signed by 34 groups including Breast Cancer Action Center for Food Safety, Environmental Working Group and Greenpeace.
Meng said the legislation is a ‘no-brainer’.
“Prohibiting the use of BPA chemicals in food packaging and developing less dangerous alternatives is a smart, common sense approach to improving the safety of our children and families. These improvements would also go a long way towards protecting workers who produce products that contain BPA.”