baby-with-bottleIn an unexpected move today, chemical companies filed a request asking the FDA to change regulations that currently allow BPA to be used in the manufacture of baby bottles and sippy cups for young children.

The industry says BPA hasn’t been used in the manufacture of these products in several years, and that their request is  “trying to bring clarity and certainty that BPA isn’t used in baby bottles and sippy cups today, and it won’t be in the future,” said Steven Hentges of the American Chemistry Council in a press statement.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC), the industry group representing manufacturers of BPA, has spent millions of dollars over the past several years fighting state bans on BPA.  Their request comes on the on the heels of legislation signed in California this week banning BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, making it the eleventh state to enact such a law.

Regulation at the federal level, the ACC hopes, will end “confusion about these products [which] has become an unnecessary distraction to consumers, legislators and state regulators” and ‘“eliminate the need for state and federal governments to spend further time and effort on a matter that has no practical outcome.”

Consumers Union has long warned of the dangers of BPA, and has supported federal and state legislation restricting its use in food containers and packaging. Said Ami Gadhia, senior counsel for CU, “The chemical industry’s action doesn’t go far enough. They need to get on board with a national ban on BPA in all food and beverage containers.”

Representative Ed Markey (D-MA), who has introduced federal legislation to ban BPA in all food and beverage containers, including canned goods, called the move by the chemical companies “an empty gesture” since most companies have already removed BPA from bottles and cups due to consumer pressure.

The chemical companies’ request is now under consideration by the FDA, which typically accepts public comments for 60 days before making a decision.