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CU letter to Representative Ed Markey in support of petitions to ban BPA

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March 13, 2012

Representative Edward J. Markey
2108 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Representative Markey:

Consumers Union, the public policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports, writes in support
of your petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban Bisphenol A (BPA) from
infant formula and baby food packaging, canned food, and reusable food containers.

More than 200 scientific studies show that BPA exposure is associated with a wide range of adverse
health effects, including breast and prostate cancer, birth defects, infertility in men, early puberty in
girls, diabetes and obesity. Even minuscule amounts – parts per billion or parts per trillion – have
been shown to cross the placenta and disrupt normal prenatal development. BPA has been found in
blood and urine of pregnant women and in breast milk soon after women gave birth. These data
indicate that pregnant women exposed to BPA can easily pass this chemical to their children during
pregnancy or breastfeeding and further illustrate why your petition seeking to ban the use of BPA in
canned food is so important.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 93 percent of Americans have
detectable levels of BPA in their bodies. Once in food, BPA can move quickly into people – a
particular concern for women of childbearing age and for young children.

Consumer Reports’ own 2009 tests of canned foods, including soups, juice, tuna, and green beans,
found that almost all of the 19 name-brand foods we tested contained some BPA. The canned
organic foods we tested did not always have lower BPA levels than nonorganic brands of similar
foods analyzed. We even found the chemical in some products in cans that were labeled “BPAfree.”

Currently eleven states have restricted use of BPA in infant food packaging, and the European
Union plus four other countries have banned or have announced plans to ban BPA from baby
bottles. In October, French officials announced the government’s support for a ban on BPA in all
food packaging by 2014 and in containers marketed to children by 2013. In the marketplace,
chemical manufacturer Sunoco announced in 2009 it would not sell BPA to companies intending to
use it to make products for children under 3. Given the huge amount of momentum being
generated in response to concern about BPA on the part of consumers, retailers, manufacturers and
the states, the marketplace is moving away from the use of the chemical in food packaging. Still,
1food packaging that contains BPA remains on store shelves and consumers have no way of
identifying products that are BPA-free.

Your common sense petitions are asking for what the marketplace and an increasing body of
scientific evidence argue – that BPA has no place in food packaging. To best protect the public
health, Consumers Union urges that FDA define the absence of BPA as a BPA level in a product of
less than .1 parts per billion. The American Chemistry Council’s petition to FDA to ban BPA in
baby bottles and sippy cups is a good start, but it’s not enough. Kids, pregnant women, and the
population at large are still being exposed to BPA through infant formula, baby food, canned foods
and reusable food containers. We wholeheartedly support your efforts to secure federal action to
ensure that everyone is protected from this unsafe, hormonally active chemical.

 

Sincerely,

Ami V. Gadhia                               Michael Hansen, Ph.D.
Senior Policy Counsel                      Senior Staff Scientist