Bills Would Ban BPA From Food and Drink Containers

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Saturday, March 14, 2009

Leaders from the House and Senate introduced legislation yesterday that would establish a federal ban on bisphenol A in all food and beverage containers.

The bills, introduced by Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), would greatly expand efforts to limit the chemical from products for young children.

The move came a day after Sunoco, the gas and chemical company, sent word to investors that it is now refusing to sell bisphenol A, known as BPA, to companies for use in food and water containers for children younger than 3. The company told investors that it cannot be certain of the chemical compound's safety. Last week, six baby-bottle manufacturers, including Playtex and Gerber, announced that they will stop using BPA in bottles.

Tests have found toxic levels of the chemical in products, including those marked as "microwave safe."

The amounts detected were at levels that have caused 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.

Studies have shown that the chemical can cause breast cancer, testicular cancer, diabetes, hyperactivity, obesity, low sperm count, miscarriage and a host of other reproductive problems 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.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company