The US chemical industry has rallied to the defence of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) after Chicago became the first city to ban the chemical in baby bottles and sipper cups.
"This new Chicago law is contrary to the global consensus on the safety of BPA and ignores the expert evaluations of scientists and government bodies from around the world,” said a statement from the American Chemistry Council (ACC). “These particular restrictions on the sale of baby bottles and sippy cups, intended for use by children under the age of three and which contain bisphenol A (BPA), are unwarranted.”
Earlier this week, Chicago voted to ban the sale of baby bottles and sipper cups that contain bisphenol A for use by children under the age of three. The proposed legislation specifically seeks to prohibit the use of BPA from “any empty bottle or cup specifically designed to be filled with food or liquid to be used primarily by a child under the age of 3.”
The law, if finally approved, will would become effective from January 31, 2010. It also requires the city’s retailers to confirm to customers that the children’s milk bottles they sell are BPA free.
ACC insisted that although it shared Chicago’s goal of protecting children’s health, products containing BPA are safe. "ACC and its member companies that manufacture and use BPA are committed to providing the compounds and plastics that make possible a range of products that protect public health and safety,” it said in a statement. “We have and will continue to develop scientific data to inform credible, transparent scientific assessments of BPA so that the public can have the confidence it deserves in the safety of these products.”
To support its views the council cited a US Food and Drug Administration statement made two months ago: 'With regard to BPA generally, based on all available evidence, the consensus of regulatory agencies in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan is that the current levels of exposure to BPA through food packaging do not pose an immediate health risk to the general population, including infants and young children,” said the FDA.
Within the last few months government agencies in France, Germany, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand all have issued statements concurring with the global consensus.”
Meanwhile, earlier this week Minnesota became the first US state to ban the use of BPA in baby bottles from next year. Earlier this year Suffolk County, New York was the first government in the US to introduce such a ban.
Several other states, and Congress, are considering restricting or banning the use of BPA.