By Benjamin Goad - 07/11/13 02:51 PM EDT
The FDA’s decision to prohibit of bisphenol A (BPA) comes at the urging of Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), who filed a petition calling for the action last year.
“This is a major victory for America’s families, and I join with parents in celebrating safer feeding time for their babies now that this toxic chemical will forever be banned from infant formula,” Markey said in a written statement Thursday.
The rule will take effect immediately after it is published in the Federal Register later this week.
The use of BPA, a chemical used to harden plastics, has become so widespread that it can be detected in 90 percent of the U.S. population, according to research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Studies have also linked BPA in food and beverage containers to several health problems, including heart disease, infertility and cancer.
In banning BPA from baby formula packaging, the FDA noted that the industry had already abandoned use of the chemical, but did not make a finding that BPA in packaging poses health risks.
Still, consumer groups hailed the action as a major milestone in the push to prohibit BPA from all food and drink packaging.
“The writing is on the wall for canned food makers,” said Janet Nudelman, director of program and policy at the Breast Cancer Fund. “If the entire infant-formula industry was able to go BPA-free, there is no earthly reason why canned food manufacturers can’t follow suit.”
The FDA is currently studying potential dangers of BPA and has not made a determination on its safety.