EPA initiates new reviews of common chemical

The agency also plans to gather more data about other environmental risks, noting this “may include testing or monitoring data in the vicinity of landfills, manufacturing facilities, or similar locations to determine the potential for BPA to enter the environment, including surface water, ground water, and drinking water, at levels of potential concern particularly for environmental organisms, pregnant women, and children.”

But the agency noted that it is not initiating rules, at least for the moment, under TSCA on the basis of human health risks.

“EPA remains committed to protecting human health and will continue to consult and coordinate closely with FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to better determine and evaluate the potential health consequences of BPA. The results of this assessment work will factor significantly in any future EPA decisions to address potential risks to human health resulting from uses within EPA’s jurisdiction,” a summary of EPA’s plan states.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.)  have introduced bills that would ban BPA from food or beverage containers marketed for children three years old and younger. Food packaging falls under the purview of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA in January announced that it has “some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children.”

The FDA said it is carrying out more in-depth studies but in the meantime pledged to take several steps to reduce exposures, such as supporting industry efforts to cease production of BPA-containing baby bottles and feeding cups.

“We share FDA’s concern about the potential health impacts from BPA,” said Steve Owens, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, in a prepared statement Monday. “Both EPA and FDA, and many other agencies are moving forward to fully assess the environmental and health impacts to ensure that the full range of BPA’s possible impacts are examined.”