Last week France joined a growing list of governments placing limits on the use of bisphenol-A (BPA) in food and beverage containers intended for small children as its National Assembly approved a ban on manufacturing, importing, exporting, or selling baby bottles made with the chemical.
Only Denmark and Canada have adopted similar nationwide regulations.
According to Food Quality News, the ban was approved by the French Senate in March and last month the French Food Safety Agency (AFSSA) recommended consumers should be made aware of the presence of BPA in packaging through “systematic labeling.”
The logic behind the labeling? To help consumers avoid excessively heating containers with the chemical. “Heating has been shown to accentuate the migration of BPA from food contact materials into food and drink,” as Food Quality News put it last week.
A growing body of research has linked low-level exposure to BPA, which is used to manufacture a wide range of plastic products, to disruptions in the endocrine system, an issue that can cause reproductive, neurological, and behavioral problems.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to make a final decision on whether low level exposure to BPA is a threat to public health, though it did announce in January that it has “some concern” about the chemical. Following the FDA’s updated position, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) began a public health review, which is ongoing.
While U.S. officials weigh the potential public health risks, five states–Connecticut, Minnesota, Washington, Wisconsin and Maryland–have adopted their own BPA restrictions. Four counties in New York and the city of Chicago have also implemented restrictions. Twelve additional states are considering BPA bills, including California.