April 21, 2010

BPA (Bisphenol A) battle makes way to Senate - Chris Frates - POLITICO.com

By CHRIS FRATES | 4/20/10
A brewing fight over a chemical is threatening the support of a key stakeholder in the food-safety bill expected to hit the Senate floor as early as this week.
At issue is the safety of Bisphenol A, a chemical used to manufacture food and beverage containers like baby bottles, infant formula packaging, canned fruits and vegetables, office water coolers and soda and water bottles.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has introduced legislation to ban the substance, also known as BPA, from being used in food and drink containers and has signaled that she plans to offer a similar amendment when the food safety bill is debated on the Senate floor.
“I introduced my bill to ban BPA from being used in food containers because I feel very strongly that the government should protect people from harmful chemicals. I continue to believe that BPA should be addressed as a part of the food-safety overhaul and plan to offer an amendment to do so,” Feinstein said in a statement to POLITICO.
Feinstein’s office did not provide any more details on what the amendment would say.
Opponents are concerned that Feinstein will attempt to ban the substance and argue that the science does not support such drastic action.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association sent a letter last week to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) threatening to pull its support for the food-safety bill if it is amended to include a ban or phaseout of BPA.
The group urged the Senate leaders to oppose a ban while the Food and Drug Administration completes a review of the substance’s safety.
“BPA has been used for over 30 years to improve the safety and quality of food and beverages, including by providing protective coatings for cans and metal closures for glass jars,” GMA President Pamela Bailey wrote. “Because adequate alternatives are not currently available, [a ban] would adversely impact an exceptionally wide range of canned and other packaged food, from fruits and vegetables to soft drinks and beer.”
But Janet Nudelman, policy director of the Breast Cancer Fund, said, “BPA is a poster child for bad-acting chemicals linked to breast cancer and other diseases.”

Bisphenol A battle makes way to Senate - Chris Frates - POLITICO.com

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