The wheels are in motion at the FDA to begin review of last week’s unexpected request from the American Chemistry Council, the industry group which represents the manufacturers of the known endocrine disruptor BPA.   Their petition urges the agency to change regulations and no longer allow BPA in the manufacture of baby bottles and sippy cups.

The move by the ACC came as a surprise to many elected officials and public health advocates who have battled the chemical companies at the state and federal levels trying to pass legislation banning BPA in children’s food containers.   In fact, the request came only three days after California’s ban on BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups was signed into law – a process that took 6 years due largely to the millions of dollars the chemical companies spent lobbying to defeat the measure.

The ACC claims BPA hasn’t been used in the manufacture of baby bottles or sippy cups for years, and that the request is to help clear up confusion for consumers.

The FDA says the process to change the regulations could take several months, which includes a 60-day public comment period.  The agency will specifically be requesting information regarding the claim that bottles and sippy cups containing the chemical BPA are no longer on store shelves, as the ACC’s petition states.

While the US inches along on a ban in these products, France (which banned BPA in baby bottles over a year ago) took a much bolder step this week with a vote to rid food packaging of BPA altogether.  In a nearly unanimous vote, Parliament moved to ban BPA in all packaging of food products by 2014, with a 2013 deadline for food products geared towards children.

It’s a move that many are ready to see here in the US as well, including:

Senator Dianne Feinstein:  “The next step must be to ban BPA from infant formula and baby food.”

Consumers Union: “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.”

Breast Cancer Fund: “It’s great that the chemical industry wants to finally stop fighting the science and public opinion and join us in saying that BPA has no place in baby bottles and sippy cups. Now it’s time for industry to go one step further and support legislative efforts to rid BPA from all food packaging.”

Representative Ed Markey: “Most manufacturers, driven by consumer pressure, have already made the market decision to remove BPA from feeding bottles and sippy cups.  I have introduced The Ban Poisonous Additives Act that will keep BPA out of our bodies while also ensuring that all food and beverage containers are free from dangerous chemicals.”

National Council of Churches:   “We hope that this is only a first step in removing BPA from products children and pregnant women may come in contact with such as food and formula cans, food containers and receipt paper.”

Center for Health Environment and Justice:  “The writing is on the wall for BPA.  We hope to see a major transition away from BPA in canned food in years to come.”