Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, released the following statement after a new study released in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests a link between high levels of childhood and adolescent exposure to bisphenol-A to higher rates of obesity. BPA is a chemical used to harden plastics, and it is so prevalent in household items that it has been detected in the bodies of more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Research has found that BPA leaches from containers into food and beverages and has been linked to a host of health problems. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently accepted a petition from Rep. Markey to revise its regulations, disallowing the use of BPA in infant formula packaging.
"This latest research linking BPA and obesity in children underscores the need to remove this toxic chemical from food and beverage containers, especially those come into contact with children. The implication that exposure to toxic chemicals early in life can program whether a child will grow into a healthy adult is a serious public health and policy issue. My petition to FDA to remove BPA from infant formula is an important first step, and I look forward with working with FDA as it implements this rule change.
"It also is time FDA completes its long-overdue assessment of BPA's health impacts and makes clear its next steps for ensuring our entire food supply is free from this damaging chemical. I have introduced legislation that would require better assessment and transparency of the materials and chemicals used in food packaging so that all children can be better protected from dangerous chemicals. The time has come for Congress to take action."
In March 2012, Rep. Markey sent three separate petitions to the FDA requesting the agency permanently remove regulatory approval for the use of BPA in baby and toddler food packaging, small reusable household food and beverage containers, and canned food packaging on the grounds that manufacturers have abandoned use of BPA in these products. The FDA was unable to move forward with Rep. Markey's petitions for baby food and small reusable food and beverage containers, largely because the FDA could not verify whether the major manufacturers that abandoned BPA's use and that were included in the petition represented the entire industry responsible for these products. Because some canned food and beverage corporations, including Coca-Cola ConAgra, and Pepsico, have openly opposed transition away from use of BPA, the agency could not move forward with the petition on canned food.