Environmental Protection Agency will list Bisphenol 'chemical of concern'

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that it is formally listing Bisphenol A -- a chemical found widely in consumer goods -- as a "chemical of concern."

The chemical is added to plastics to harden them, and has been used in soda cans, baby bottles and food containers. It is so widespread that 90 percent of Americans show traces of it in their urine. But, in recent years, studies have linked BPA to heart disease and cancer in humans, and to abnormal development in animals.

In January, the Food and Drug Administration said it had concerns about the chemical's effect on human health.

The EPA's decision to add BPA to the "chemicals of concern" list does not trigger any new regulation. But the agency also ordered manufacturers to test the chemical's impact on animals and the environment. The EPA will also test to see how much BPA leaks into the air and water from facilities where it is made, or into dumps where it is disposed.

The American Chemistry Council, a trade group, responded that studies have "affirmed that BPA is not a risk to the environment at current low levels."

-- David A. Fahrenthold

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