(NaturalNews) U.S. Senator Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, has introduced new legislation that would phase out the use of the estrogen-like chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in all food packaging, not just baby bottles and "sippy" cups. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2014 would effectively ban BPA from further use in food and beverage containers, allowing a generous grace period for manufacturers to come into compliance.
The legislation, which now has a companion bill in the House, specifically addresses new science showing that BPA is harmful to all humans and is present in the vast majority of the human population. It also charges the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with conducting safety reviews for all chemicals and materials currently being used in food and beverage containers, even if they have previously been deemed "safe."
"Science shows that BPA is present in the vast majority of Americans and is harmful to human health," said Jason Rano, EWG's director of government affairs. "It has been linked to cancer, obesity, diabetes, infertility, hormone disruption and early puberty in children. Congress is taking an important step on behalf of our most vulnerable populations to help reduce exposure to BPA."
As it is currently written, the bill would consider a food to be adulterated if its container is made with BPA, or has the potential to release BPA into food. If a food packaging manufacturer can demonstrate that there is no viable alternative for BPA in a particular application, however, it may be eligible for a one-year renewable waiver from the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), allowing for its continued use.
A companion bill in the House, introduced by Representatives Lois Capps (D-Ca) and Grace Meng (D-NY), would have similar requirements, forcing manufacturers to switch to BPA alternatives within 180 days of the bill's passage. All reusable food and beverage containers currently made with BPA would have to be discontinued within six months of the bill's passage, and no new containers with BPA would be allowed onto the market.
"It's time to take the worry out of the workplace for our factory workers by taking the BPA out of canned goods and other food and beverage containers," stated Sen. Markey. "The Ban Poisonous Additives Act will help ensure that our factories and our entire food supply are free from this damaging chemical. It's time to ban BPA and move to safer alternatives."
BPA bill would force companies to prove chemical safety before commercial release
Another major provision of the legislation includes mandates that new chemical substances be proven safe before being allowed onto the market. The House bill specifically outlines that manufacturers of food packaging materials must notify HHS about their intended use, as well as provide evidence that they will not cause adverse effects even at low-dose exposures.
Manufacturers would also be required to prove that these new substances will not cause reproductive or developmental toxicity in either humans or animals, a requirement that did not exist when BPA was first introduced.
"Prohibiting the use of BPA chemicals in food packaging and developing less dangerous alternatives is a smart, common sense approach to improving the safety of our children and families," stated Rep. Meng about the bill, as quoted by Food Quality News. "These improvements would also go a long way towards protecting workers who produce products that contain BPA."
The Environmental Working Group is continuing to follow the BPA story and the Ban Poisonous Additives Act, which you can learn more about at their website: EWG.org.