The Food and Drug Administration has issued a ban on the chemical Bisphenol A, or BPA, in baby bottles and children’s drinking cups, the New York Times reports.
BPA is a chemical additive used in many hard plastics and metal cans used to hold consumer foods. The FDA’s decision to ban BPA from baby bottles and children’s cups was a response to a request from the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main trade association.
In 2008, the FDA declared BPA safe at low levels, but in 2010 began reviewing research suggesting it could cause hormone disruptions at even low doses. A University of Missouri researcher has been at the front of the movement to ban BPA.
Public health advocates praised the decision, but noted that industry had already largely phased out BPA from baby bottles and sippy cups on its own. As the Times reports:
“The F.D.A. is slowly making progress on this issue, but they are doing the bare minimum here,” said Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Research Center for Women and Families. “They are instituting a ban that is already in effect voluntarily.”
Some advocates also pointed out that the decision did not include BPA used in containers of baby formula. Dennis M. Keefe, director of the office of food additive safety at the F.D.A., said that a decision on the chemical’s use in such products was under review.