FDA Bans BPA From Infant Formula Packaging (Because Manufacturers Have Already Stopped Using It)

Fresh off patting itself on the back for only approving two new cigarette products (because they’re basically the same as the cigarettes already on the market), the Food and Drug Administration is continuing to show its willingness to take a timid stance on a controversial topic, by banning the use of the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) in the packaging of infant formula… because packagers have all stopped using it anyway.

This news comes almost exactly a year after the FDA issued a ban on BPA in baby bottles, again because the baby-bottle industry had decided to stop using the chemical, which studies have linked to everything from increased risks of certain cancers, to obesity, to diabetes, reproductive abnormalities, and heart disease.

BPA is still commonly used in much of the packaging for food and beverage products in the U.S., and studies show that around 90% of Americans have traces of the chemical in their urine. Consumer and public health advocates, along with some scientists and legislators, have been pleading with the FDA to halt its use in all food packaging, but the agency has stated that the available data “was not sufficient to persuade FDA… to initiate rulemaking to revoke the food additive approvals for BPA.”

And yet, when it bans the chemical for use in things like baby bottles, the FDA makes statements like “Consumers can be confident that these products do not contain BPA,” which implies that consumers should have some concern about BPA in products.

Massachusetts Congressman and Senator-Elect Ed Markey, who petitioned the FDA to formalize this ban, calls the decision a “major victory for America’s families,” but continues to voice his opposition to the continued use of BPA in food and beverage packaging.

“However, some other industries are ignoring consumer concerns and continue to poison our food supply with this dangerous chemical by including it in other food and beverage packaging, including most canned goods” said Markey in a statement. “With viable alternatives available for BPA, I urge all companies to abandon the use of this toxic chemical, and I will continue my work in the Senate to ensure our entire food supply is free from this damaging chemical.”

Earlier this year, Markey tried — again — to introduce legislation that would direct the FDA to ban BPA outright. In spite of having 19 co-sponsors, it seems highly unlikely that the bill will even get out of committee.

Thus, it seems that the only way the FDA will act on BPA is if the food packaging industry voluntarily stops using it.