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FDA Bans BPA In Baby Bottles, Sippy Cups

July 18, 2012 — Yesterday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it is banning bisphenol A, or BPA, from use in baby bottles and sippy cups. Manufacturers had already voluntarily stopped using the chemical in baby bottles as a way to boost consumer confidence. BPA remains a legal ingredient in other plastic containers, despite growing concern about the possible health risks. In 2008, the FDA said that BPA was safe, but since then, they have begun expressing concerns.

BPA mimics the hormone estrogen, and some research suggests that it could interfere with the development of a young child’s reproductive system and nervous system. In 2010, the FDA said it had “some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants, and children.”

Bisphenol A (BPA) is an estrogen-mimicking, plastic-hardening chemical that has been used since the 1950s to make plastic bottles, sippy cups, the lining of cans (including cans for infant formula, soup, and soda), storage containers, water supply pipes, dental sealants/composites, and more. It is known to leach into food, and a study from the CDC found detectable levels of BPA in 93% of 2,517 urine samples. Products marked with recycle codes 3 or 7 may be made with BPA.

Many are concerned about infant exposure to BPA. The chemical has been found in umbilical cord blood and the blood of pregnant women. After the baby is born, BPA may be present in breast milk. Although manufacturers no longer use BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, it may still be an ingredient in the lining of infant formula cans and other foods.

The FDA decision to ban BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups was prompted by the American Chemistry Council, which asked the FDA to take action to make the rules clear. The American Chemistry Council is a trade group for the plastics industry, and not a consumer advocacy group. They requested the ban as a way to reassure customers.

The FDA maintains that it has found “no convincing evidence” that BPA is a hazard to people. The agency continues to deny requests from consumer advocacy groups to ban the chemical from all food and drink. The government is currently spending $30 million on its own studies to assess the safety of the ingredient.

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