Lawmakers Push To Protect Consumers From Toxic BPA

Washington, D.C. – Several members of Congress are pushing a bill to better protect consumers – particularly the elderly, pregnant women children, and workers – from a known toxic hormone disruptor bisphenol-A, or BPA.

Introduced today by long-time champion Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), the Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2014 would ban BPA from food and beverage containers. It would also grant waivers to manufacturers seeking safer replacements for BPA while requiring them to place specific warning labels on any packaging that still contains the toxic substance. The legislation would also mandate the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to review the safety of all materials deemed safe for use in food and beverage containers

Reps. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) and Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) introduced a companion bill in the House.

“Science shows that BPA is present in the vast majority of Americans and is harmful to human health,” said Jason Rano, EWG’s director of government affairs. “It has been linked to cancer, obesity, diabetes, infertility, hormone disruption and early puberty in children. Congress is taking an important step on behalf of our most vulnerable populations to help reduce exposure to BPA.”

BPA, a synthetic estrogen, is in the epoxy linings that coat the inside of most canned foods and beverages and ultimately leaches into those products. Some companies have voluntarily taken BPA out of the linings of their containers, and in 2012 the FDA banned BPA in baby bottles and children's sippy cups.

“It was an important step when the FDA banned BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, but BPA has no place in food packaging and must be replaced with alternatives that don’t pose a serious health threats to humans,” added Rano. “This legislation would help make that a reality while providing manufacturers with the additional time they need to find safer options.”

In the meantime, there are steps people can take to lower their exposure to BPA. EWG recommends that consumers limit their intake of canned food and beverages and look for products labeled “BPA-free” or packed in glass jars or cardboard cartons, not metal cans.

For more recommendations, check out EWG's Guide to BPA.

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