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NRDC Sues FDA over BPA in Food Packaging

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its handling of bisphenol A (BPA), in an attempt to force the agency to respond to an October 2008 request to ban the chemical from food packaging, reports the New York Times.

Studies have linked BPA to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and liver-enzyme abnormalities.

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.

In March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its plans to potentially regulate the use of BPA and will add the chemical to the agency’s list of chemicals of concern that require testing related to environmental effects.

NRDC says the FDA has not responded to its October 2008 petition to block food and beverage packagers from using BPA.

“The FDA has failed to safeguard the food supply and protect the public from harm,” said Aaron Colangelo, an attorney with NRDC. “The FDA’s failure to regulate this chemical in food packaging in unjustified, and so we are forced to ask the court to intervene and order the agency to take action.”

BPA is found in wide variety of products, including the lining of liquid infant formula cans, soda or beer cans, fruit or vegetable cans, and pizza boxes as well as consumer products made from polycarbonate plastics, including baby bottles, sippy cups, and reusable water bottles, said NRDC. The group says more than 93 percent of the general population has some BPA in their bodies.

Several states have instituted bans of BPA in baby bottles and other feeding products with New York likely to become the seventh state in the past two years, according to Plastic News. New York Governor David Paterson is expected to sign a bill to ban BPA that passed in both the state Assembly and Senate.

An attempt to ban BPA in California was defeated June 28 in the state Assembly, although there could be another vote in August, reports Plastic News.

The New York ban would go into effect Dec. 1 and apply to all child care feeding products used by children age 3 and younger, according to the article.

In March 2009, the six largest makers of baby bottles announced they would stop manufacturing baby bottles in the United States made with BPA.

Other states and cites with BPA bans include Vermont, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Washington, Maryland, Minnesota, the city of Chicago and four counties in New York state — Albany, Schenectady, Suffolk and Rockland.

The Washington and Connecticut bans goes into effect in 2011, followed by Maryland and Vermont in 2012, according to Plastic News. The Chicago ban and the other state bans are already in effect.

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