FDA Bans BPA In Baby Bottles, Sippy Cups

The United States Food and Drug Administration announced on Tuesday that baby bottles and sippy cups can no longer contain bisphenol A, or BPA, the estrogen-disrupting chemical found in malleable plastics. The New York Times reports that the decision was made at the urging of the American Chemistry Council, a lobbying group that often focuses on a pro-plastics agenda.

BPA has been used since the 1960s to make hard plastic bottles, cups for toddlers and the linings of food and beverage cans, including those that hold infant formula and soda. Until recently, it was used in baby bottles, but major manufacturers are now making bottles without it. Plastic items containing BPA are generally marked with a 7 on the bottom for recycling purposes.

But the new prohibition does not apply more broadly to the use of BPA in other containers, said an F.D.A. spokesman, Steven Immergut. He said the decision did not amount to a reversal of the agency’s position on the chemical. The F.D.A. declared BPA safe in 2008, but began expressing concerns about possible health risks in 2010.

While this is certainly a victory for environmental and health advocates hoping to ban the toxic chemical from everyday products, it's a complicated and perhaps less-than-exciting bit of progress in some respects. For one, a similar ban was already called for by the National Resources Defense Council earlier this year, yet was rejected by the FDA at the time. Agreeing to a ban proposed by a pro-industry lobbying group after ignoring health advocates seems like serious cause for concern.

Moreover, BPA is not the only chemical that health and safety advocates should worry about. Bisphenol S, flame retardants, and other leaching toxins are still regularly used in everyday products.

For more on this story, read the story from The New York Times.

Photo via pfly on Flickr

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