The FDA last week rejected a petition to ban the chemical BPA from food and beverage containers, citing insufficient evidence of its health effects.

Consumers Union expressed disappointment at the announcement, noting in a press release that there’s  “ample scientific evidence about the health risks of BPA for the agency to take action now and ban it from food and drink packaging.”

The petition, which was filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council in 2008, requested that the FDA issue a ban on BPA in all food packaging.  BPA is used in the linings of canned goods and beverages and in some reusable plastic bottles (such as sports bottles, baby bottles and sippy cups).   Hundreds of studies have linked BPA to health problems including breast and prostate cancer, early puberty, and developmental issues in fetuses and babies.

The FDA states that it is continuing to study BPA, and a spokesman indicated that “this is not a final safety determination” on the chemical.

But Dr. Sarah Janssen, a senior scientist with the National Resources Defense Council, says, “We always support more research but we also wonder, when is enough enough?…. What the FDA is saying is: We’re going to keep studying it and in the meantime you’re going to still eat it and then maybe later we’ll tell you it’s not safe.”

Eleven states have already passed their own bans on BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups, and some have banned the chemical from additional products such as infant formula containers, baby food jars, and reusable sports bottles.   For a full list click here.