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Will BPA Be Banned?

Massachusetts Congressman Edward J. Markey has asked the federal government to ban the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) from use in three types of household products: infant formula and baby/toddler food, canned foods and beverages, and small reusable food containers. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must soon respond a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC), which includes a request for immediate regulatory action to ban BPA for all food contact applications by March 31, 2012.

Just what is this substance that has people so concerned? BPA is a chemical found in hard plastics and the coatings of food and drinks cans, and it can behave in a similar way to estrogen and other hormones in the human body. BPA is also an an "endocrine disruptor," which is a substance that interferes with the production, secretion, transport, action, function and elimination of natural hormones.

Researchers continue to find evidence that BPA is harmful for fertility and can contribute to other diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. In 2009, the Endocrine Society, USA, made a public statement expressing concern over current human exposure to BPA. However, other experts in regulatory science from organizations such as the World Health Organization, the FDA, the European Food Safety Authority and Health Canada say that when the comprehensive body of research on BPA is evaluated the conclusion is that BPA-based coatings, when used in food packaging, do not pose a health risk to the general population, including infants and young children.

Read about the latest research on BPA here.

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