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House Committee Sets Deadline for BPA Decision

For Immediate Release: 
Thursday, June 18, 2009

WASHINGTON, -- In a rare move, the House Energy and Commerce Committee directed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to finalize its safety determination over the controversial toxic plastics additive, bisphenol A (BPA) used in the linings of food and beverage containers, baby bottles and liquid infant formula.

Representative Edward Markey (D-MA) successfully fought to include language in the final version of the Food Safety and Enhancement Act the Committee adopted yesterday that would require FDA to take the impacts of exposure of BPA among infants, young children and pregnant women into account when determining if the chemical is safe for use in food and beverage containers.

The relevant section from the Food Safety and Enhancement Act of 2009:

SEC. 215. BISPHENOL A IN FOOD AND BEVERAGE CONTAINERS.

(a) NOTICE OF DETERMINATION.—No later than December 31, 2009, the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall notify the Congress whether the available scientific data support a determination that there is a reasonable certainty of no harm, for infants, young children, pregnant women, and adults, for approved uses of polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resin made with bisphenol A in food and beverage containers, including reusable food and beverage containers, under the conditions of use prescribed in current Food and Drug Administration regulations.

(b) NOTICE OF ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN.—If the Secretary concludes that such a determination cannot be made for any approved use, the Secretary shall notify the Congress of the actions the Secretary intends to take under the Secretary’s authority to regulate food additives to protect the public health, which may include—

(1) revoking or modifying any of the approved uses of bisphenol A in food and beverage containers, including reusable food and beverage containers; and

(2) ensuring that the public is sufficiently informed of such determination and the steps the public may take in response to such determination.

(c) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.—Nothing herein is intended or shall be construed to modify existing Food and Drug Administration authority, procedures, or policies for assessing scientific data, making safety determinations, or regulating the safe use of food additives.

“While we're encouraged that under Congressman Markey's leadership FDA will be required to take responsible action, we remain concerned that FDA's scientific review process has been so corrupted by industry influence that public health won't be protected by the agency's final decision,” said Environmental Working Group (EWG) co-founder and Senior VP for Policy and Communications, Richard Wiles.

Key Issues: