The Washington Post today reports on objections to members of Congress trying to use food safety legislation to ban BPA, or bisphenol A, from food and beverage containers. Congress arrogating to itself the banning of specific chemicals is bad enough as a matter of public policy. It’s worse that a few lawmakers want to restrict a useful chemical that regulators in Europe and Canada have determined poses no threat.
So, at least a study, right?
The FDA said in January that it had “some concern” about possible health effects linked to BPA but did not have enough reason to restrict its use and would study the question over 18 to 24 months. The Environmental Protection Agency says that it, too, wants to study the matter. And the National Institutes of Health are spending $30 million over the next two years, also examining whether BPA poses a health risk.
“We trust the FDA to complete a safety assessment for BPA, and we don’t think the Senate should short-circuit and undermine the FDA,” Faber said. [Scott Faber is vice president for federal affairs for the Grocery Manufacturers Association.]
The article cites a letter written by business groups, including the Grocery Manufacturers and National Association of Manufacturers, objecting to the BPA ban.
To be clear, we are prepared to support S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act in its current form. At the same time, we are concerned that amendments to ban BPA would undermine the goals of food safety legislation and delay final passage. BPA has been used for over 30 years to improve the safety and quality of food and beverages, including by providing protective coatings for cans and the metal closures for glass jars. Because adequate alternatives are not currently available, bills such as S. 593 would adversely impact an exceptionally wide range of canned and other packaged food, from fruits and vegetables to soft drinks and beer.
BPA is one of the many chemicals targeted by trial lawyers, whose earnings potential benefits from fomenting scares about the quotidian products that make life better.
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