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Feinstein Aims to Ban BPA

A controversial amendment proposed by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to ban the use of bisphenol-A, otherwise known as BPA, in food and drink containers continues to threaten the broad, bipartisan support for the pending FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510).

Sen.Feinstein.jpgYesterday, Feinstein stood with environmental and public health advocates on Capitol Hill to release a new report–which found “alarming levels” of the endocrine-disrupting chemical in common canned foods–and reaffirmed her intention to introduce a BPA amendment when S. 510 is brought to the floor of the Senate.

Both the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA), and the Chamber of Commerce, two major business groups who currently support the food safety bill, recently threatened to oppose the legislation if it contained language banning the controversial chemical.

Were the BPA amendment adopted into the pending legislation it would present major challenges by turning very important allies into foes, and adding new opposition from the chemical and packaging industries.

But, as the National Workgroup for Safe Markets, a coalition of U.S. public and environmental health-focused NGOs behind the report, said in a letter to Senate leadership yesterday, they believe the food safety bill is an appropriate vehicle for BPA restrictions.

“[T]he Food Safety Modernization Act only addresses part of the picture,” reads the letter. “E. coli, Salmonella, and other foodborne contaminants are important concerns, but so are endocrine disrupting chemicals like BPA which are found in food and beverage packaging. BPA leaches from food packaging into food and then into people. Getting BPA out of food is an urgent food safety and public health issue that demands immediate congressional action.”

Food industry giants disagree. They argue public health agencies should rule on the safety of the chemical, not Congress. GMA pushed back against the report yesterday saying it offered “no new science.”

“All of the credible information in the report is well known to regulatory agencies and has been considered in their review and affirmation of the safety of BPA,” said Robert Brackett, GMA’s senior vice president and chief science and regulatory affairs officer in a statement. “BPA has been used for over 30 years to improve the safety and quality of food and beverages, including by providing protective coating for cans. Scientists and regulatory agencies who have reviewed BPA have concluded that BPA is safe for use in these products.”

Brackett was director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) from 2004 to 2007.

The FDA is re-reviewing BPA and is expected to complete its assessment within the next 18 to 24 months, after announcing in January that it had “some concern” about the chemical.  The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has also launched a $30 million study on the safety of low level exposure to BPA.

When asked if she was worried about jeopardizing S. 510, which has been stalled for months behind health care reform and other pressing legislative priorities, Sen. Feinstein said “No, not at all.”

Feinstein was also not overly optimistic about the bipartisan outlook for her BPA amendment. “I think the outlook is that its going to be a struggle. There’s no question about it. There are powerful interests that don’t want us to pass this bill.”

Pictured: Senator Feinstein (right) takes questions from reporters at a press conference unveiling the new BPA report, No Silver Lining.

© Food Safety News
  • dangermaus

    This is re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic. The USDA doesn’t protect you, farmers protect you by doing their jobs well. Pass Tester’s Amendment to this bill!!!!

  • john fox

    yes i worry about this ,i would not wish to lose my job as well as a lot of other ppl i know,i work for Con Agra foods what is the govt trying to do put everyone out of work

  • yendor yeldarb

    How long will it take the average consumer to awaken to the fact that they and their children are slowly being poisoned by not only the industrial food industry but the packaging industry, their only interest is in profit not health nor safety. As long as the USDA and FDA are in the corporate pockets they have no interest in making effect changes to insure safety of their citizens.
    I suggest we all right Sen. Feinstein and encourage her not to
    give up the fight for and entire outlawing of BPA any where food or drink related.
    Corporate greed and fear of losing jobs prevents transparency in a very opaque food supply chain. Not until the average consumer votes with their dollars and demand safe food will change come about. enough

  • The world is waking up. Natural and organic food choices are on the rise. Plastics are losing their popularity among the educated. BPA sources will be avoided. The special interests and their disease promoting greed agendas are part of a dying paradigm and nothing can stop it. It will take a long time, but it will happen.

  • Carol Green

    BPA is making poor people suffer unnecessarily and is costing
    the taxpayer lots of money. Here’s why I think so:
    My son is a recipient of Medicare, Medicaid, and Wellcare
    in Eureka, CA. He is on SSI with mental and physical health
    issues. The government has provided him with aid and services
    that helped him survive a mental breakdown in his senior year
    at the Academy of Art in San Francisco. He has been homeless
    and destitute since, and recently found help.
    My son recently had an operation for kidney stones and then contracted
    prostatitis, conditions his doctor said were unrelated. The pain he
    suffered, the expense the government went through to help him, and
    the lack of knowledge of medical professionals regarding BPA
    are the reasons I am writing to you.
    My son’s mental problems are of such a nature that he spends little
    time really thinking about his diet, which is limited due to the meager
    allotment he receives through SSI. He eats fresh fruits and
    vegetables and lots of beans and soups from cans. Like many
    on SSI, he goes through maybe 100 cans of food a month. Why?
    Hundreds of thousand of impoverished people in the US are
    homeless, with no ability to store food in refrigerators or cook food
    on stovetops, forcing them to eat out of cans at each meal. Shelters
    serve food daily to the hungry from cans donated in canned food drives.
    So, BPA–a dangerous substance found in the lining of most cans–
    is a big problem to destitute consumers. The resulting physical problems
    they suffer cost the taxpayer millions of dollars to treat.
    My son didn’t link the pain he suffered from kidney stones and
    prostatitis with the recent studies on BPA because his doctors were
    unaware of the link. Then, we did a web search on BPA and what we found
    was shocking.
    Thousands of sites on the net including Consumer Reports, Johns
    Hopkins, and other highly regarded institutions, doctors, hospitals link prostate,
    urinary tract, and kidney problems to BPA used in the lining of cans.
    The government could ban BPA, but doesn’t. Consequently, our government
    is complicit in harming the health of the poor, and it siphons taxpayer money to help
    the poor with resulting prostate and kidney operations, hospitalization, and medication.
    There is one simple remedy. Ban BPA.
    For three weeks now, my son has not eaten food from cans, and
    surprisingly, all his symptoms–painful symptoms he has suffered for ten years–
    have completely subsided. Thank God! We both believe that the reason for his
    miraculous medical improvement is that he is no longer ingesting BPA.
    Please respond to this email and to me personally. I want to know that
    you can do something to BAN BPA. Again, please forward this letter
    to the appropriate official.
    Carol Green, Retired California Teacher
    944 F Street
    Eureka, CA 95501

  • Carol Green

    My disabled son, on SSI, suffers prostatitis and recently had an operation for kidney stones. For years, he ate fruits, vegetables, beans and soups from cans. Like many on SSI, he goes through maybe 100 cans of food a month.
    Recently, after learning that BPA actually causes the ailments he suffers, my son stopped eating canned foods. Within weeks, all his symptoms–painful symptoms he has suffered for ten years–have completely disappeared. The reason? He is no longer ingesting BPA.
    Thousands of impoverished people in the US are homeless, in shelters or group homes, with no ability to store food in refrigerators or cook food on stovetops. They are forced to eat out of cans at each meal. Shelters serve food daily to the hungry from cans donated in canned food drives. The resulting physical problems caused by BPA cost the taxpayer millions of dollars to treat.
    I believe our FDA is complicit in harming the health of the poor by not banning BPA. Compounding the problem, the government then siphons taxpayer money to help the poor with resulting prostate and kidney operations, hospitalization, and medication.
    I want to know why the FDA permits a chemical like BPA to be used in food containers when it is so dangerous. I want to know why the FDA doesn’t ban BPA now that it is known to cause widespread medical problems.
    The chemical companies are in bed with the lawmakers and the FDA. They are mercenaries committing genocide, and the FDA is the accomplice.
    My family has vowed not to eat canned foods until BPA is banned.
    What else can we do?
    Carol Green, Retired California Teacher

  • Carol Green

    I want to know if there is a class action lawsuit against companies who put BPA in food cans? Is there a way to become a part of class action if you have been harmed by BPA in cans? Please write to greneyes46@aol.com. Thank you.
    Carol Green