Go Back
Print this page

Food Politics

Politics of the Plate: Bad Times for BPA

Two new pieces of legislation would completely ban bisphenol A, the hard plastic used in bottles and food containers, because of safety concerns.
plastic bottle

With all due respect to T. S. Eliot, March is turning out to be the cruelest month, at least for bisphenol A, (BPA) the ubiquitous hard plastic used in bottles and food containers.

Last week, legislation was introduced in both the United States House and Senate. The two bills would ban BPA outright in all food containers, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Meg Kissinger. Canada banned the chemical in baby bottles late last year.

The proposed legislation comes on the heels of reports that Sunoco, a petrochemical company that makes the 240 million tons of the plastic per year and has long defended its safety, was requiring its customers to guarantee that the BPA it sold to them would not be used to make food and beverage containers for children under age three. “We will no longer sell BPA to customers who cannot make this promise,” wrote Sunoco spokesman Thomas Golembeski in a letter to shareholders last week, according to the Journal Sentinel. Sunoco’s move came at the same time as Gerber, Playtex, and four other baby bottle manufacturers announced they would stop using BPA.

In animal studies, BPA has been linked to breast cancer, testicular cancer, diabetes, hyperactivity, and many other reproductive problems.

Despite recent promising changes in its leadership ranks, the FDA’s last official word on the subject was that BPA is perfectly safe. Do you suppose that the folks over at Sunoco know something the FDA doesn’t?