Bill would ban BPA in food packaging

Democrats in both chambers of Congress introduced legislation to ban from food packaging Bisephenol-A (BPA), a synthetic additive that has been linked to cancer, fetal development problems and infertility in large volumes.

Reps. Lois Capps (Calif.) and Grace Meng (N.Y.), along with Sen. Ed Markey (Mass.), said the bill would also encourage the development of alternatives to BPA, which is used in resins and plastics, and require a safety review of all substances currently used in food packaging.

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“The dangers of BPA are well-documented, and we must do everything we can to ensure that both the factory workers who package food, and the people who consume our food, are safe,” Capps said in a statement.

“The Ban Poisonous Additives Act will help ensure that our factories and our entire food supply are free from this damaging chemical,” Markey said. “It’s time to ban BPA and move to safer alternatives.”

BPA has been in the spotlight in recent years, following a 2010 report on its harms from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Last year, the FDA concluded that BPA is safe in the small volumes that are used in food packaging.

In 2012, the FDA banned BPA from baby bottles and children’s cups, though manufacturers had already voluntarily stopped using the substance.

The American Chemistry Council, which represents the plastics industry, said the legislation is unnecessary and unwarranted.

“Sen. Markey has unfortunately chosen to reintroduce unnecessary legislation that ignores the expert analysis of government scientists at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which strongly supports the continued use of BPA in food-contact materials,” Steven Hentges, who leads the Chemistry Council’s group focusing on BPA.