Processing Magazine

FDA says chemical found in plastic bottles is safe

August 18, 2008

The Associated Press reports that, despite ongoing safety concerns from parents, consumer groups and politicians, a chemical used in baby bottles, canned food and other items is not dangerous, federal regulators said. Food and Drug Administration scientists said the trace amounts of bisphenol A that leach out of food containers are not a threat to infants or adults. The agency acknowledged that more research is needed to fully understand the chemical''s effects on humans. The FDA previously declared the chemical safe, but agreed to revisit that opinion after a report by the federal National Toxicology Program said there was "some concern" about its risks to infants. The plastic-hardening chemical, similar to the hormone estrogen, is used to seal canned food and make shatterproof bottles. It is also used in hundreds of household items, ranging from sunglasses to CDs. About 93 percent of Americans have traces of bisphenol in their urine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And while studies have suggested the chemical can disrupt hormones in mice, the FDA concluded that the levels people are exposed to are thousands of times below what are dangerous. The FDA released its preliminary re-evaluation ahead of a September meeting where outside advisers will debate the chemical''s safety. More than 6 billion pounds of bisphenol are produced in the U.S. each year by Dow Chemical, BASF, Bayer AG and other manufacturers.