The American Chemistry Council (ACC) said it had issued the call to make clear to consumers that the substance is no longer used in the manufacture of the containers - but stressed it remained convinced that inclusion of BPA in any food contact material was safe.
The body said action taken recently by a host of US states to ban BPA in baby bottles and non-spill cups for youngsters had only served to confuse consumers about whether the substance was still used in production of the containers.
Earlier this month California became the tenth state to outlaw use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. Canada, the European Union, China and Malaysia have also prohibited BPA in baby bottles.
“Although governments around the world continue to support the safety of BPA in food contact materials, confusion about these products has become an unnecessary distraction to consumers, legislators and state regulators,” said Steven G. Hentges, head of the ACC’s polycarbonate/BPA global group. “FDA action on this request will provide certainty that BPA is not used to make the baby bottles and sippy cups on store shelves, either today or in the future.”
The trade association launched its campaign to have the law changed with a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last month.
It asked Dr Francis Lin, division head at the agency’s Food Contact Substance Notification Review, to amend Food Additive Regulation 21 C.F.R. § 177.1580 because industry was no longer using the substance in the applications.
“Section 177.1580 should be amended [sic] to reflect new information showing that all major product manufacturers, due to consumer preferences, have intentionally and permanently abandoned the use of polycarbonate resins containing BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups,” wrote Hentges.
In 2009, six of the leading US companies in the sector - Avent, Disney First Years, Gerber, Dr. Brown, Playtex and Evenflow - announced they would only employ BPA-free materials in the manufacture of their polycarbonate products.
The ACC said it had polled firms responsible for 97 per cent of global polycarbonate resin capacity and all had confirmed that their material is not supplied into the US market.
“In today’s marketplace, polycarbonate baby bottles and sippy cups are no longer being produced and there is nothing to suggest that this is a temporary condition,” added Hentges. “Rather, the industry, in response to consumer preference, has clearly made an affirmative decision to permanently discontinue the use of polycarbonate in these products.”
The group therefore asked the FDA to change regulation 21 C.F.R. § 177.1580 as to say polycarbonate resins can be used in food contact articles “except in infant feeding bottles and spill-proof cups designed to help train babies to drink from cups”.
The group said it was opposed to individual states introducing individual bans on the chemical as the FDA had the scientific expertise to assess the safety off food contact materials – including BPA.
Such a trend from the state authorities served only to “conflict with FDA’s authority and create a patchwork of inconsistent laws or regulations”.