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EPA to Assess Potential Health Risk of Bisphenol A

chemicalsThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is setting plans in motion to potentially regulate the use of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used in the manufacture of a variety of consumer and industrial products. The agency said it will add BPA to EPA’s list of chemicals of concern and require testing related to environmental effects.

This follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) announcement in January that said it would study the potential effects and ways to reduce exposure to BPA in food packaging, which can be regulated by the FDA.

In August 2008, the FDA said BPA was safe, but agreed two months later that due to concerns raised in some studies that additional research would be needed.

Soon after, six of the largest makers of baby bottles said they would stop manufacturing baby bottles in the United States made with bisphenol A (BPA).

These moves by the EPA, which are part of the Obama’s administration’s effort to better regulate health, food safety and the environment, indicate that the government is looking to reduce the use of BPA in food packaging, plastic bottles and other sources of exposure, reports the New York Times.

According to the agency, more than 1 million pounds of BPA is released into the environment annually.

The EPA’s new action plan includes adding BPA to the chemical concern list based on its potential environmental impacts, requiring data on concentrations of BPA in surface water, ground water and drinking water as well as requiring manufacturers to provide test data to help the agency evaluate its possible impacts on growth, reproduction, and development in aquatic organisms and wildlife.

The EPA will also leverage its Design for the Environment (DfE) program to look for ways to reduce unnecessary exposures and to look for alternative solutions, as well as to evaluate the chemical’s impact from non-food packaging uses.

Based on its own research, together with studies from the FDA and other agencies, the EPA will decide on regulatory actions.

This is part of the EPA’s overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which now allows the agency to list chemicals of concern and to assess and regulate new and existing chemicals.

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