Congress moves to ban BPA in all food containers
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MILWAUKEE -- Represenatives and senators in Congress yesterday introduced legislation to establish a federal ban on bisphenol A in all food and beverage containers.
The bills, introduced by Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., greatly expand earlier efforts to limit the chemical from products used only by babies and children.
The move comes a day after Sunoco, the gas and chemical company, sent word to investors that it was now refusing to sell bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, to companies for use in food and water containers for children younger than 3. Sunoco told investors that it could not be certain of the compound's safety. Last week, six baby bottle manufacturers, including Playtex and Gerber, announced that they would stop using BPA to make baby bottles.
Tests conducted last year for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found toxic levels of the chemical in all 10 packaged products, including those marked as "microwave safe." The amounts detected were at levels that scientists have found cause neurological and developmental damage in laboratory animals.
The problems include genital defects, behavioral changes and abnormal development of mammary glands. The changes to the mammary glands were identical to those observed in women at higher risk for breast cancer.
The Journal Sentinel reviewed 258 scientific studies of BPA and found that an overwhelming majority of the studies show that the chemical is harmful -- causing breast cancer, testicular cancer, diabetes, hyperactivity, obesity, low sperm counts, miscarriage and a host of other reproductive failures in laboratory animals.
More recent studies using human data have linked BPA to heart disease and diabetes. It has been found to interfere with the effects of chemotherapy in breast cancer patients.
First Published March 14, 2009 12:29 am