The Food and Drug Administration now says the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA), used to harden plastics, might not be safe for young children. This reverses a position taken by the FDA that the chemical was safe at currently-allowed levels. BPA appears in products such as bottles, CDs, bike helmets and sunglasses. It is also used in resins that coat the inside of bottle tops and metal cans. One concern, since BPA is in many premixed, liquid formula containers, is the amount of BPA to which certain formula fed-infants are exposed. The chemical is rarely found in powdered formula containers, according to FDA officials. The chemical was also used to harden some plastic baby bottles, but hopefully most manufacturers have already reformulated such bottles to remove BPA.
In 2008, the FDA said BPA was safe at the low levels used in plastic bottles and other food containers, in a draft report on the chemical. The stance differed from the National Toxicology Program (NTP), which is part of the National Institutes of Health. The NTP said, also in a 2008 report, that BPA was of “some concern for effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures.”
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said in a statement last month that the FDA now agrees with the NTP that BPA is of “some concern” for children and infants. But, she said more needs to be known about the impact of BPA before the agency will take any steps to ban the chemical or reduce amounts. According to William Corr, Health and Human Services deputy secretary, the Department will invest $30 million to conduct studies on the health effects of BPA on young children. This situation should be monitored by consumer groups such as Public Citizen to make sure the FDA stays on top of the matter.
Source: Wall Street Journal
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