In other parts of the world, government agencies are making swift decisions regarding the chemical compound bisphenol-A. In contrast, officials in the United States have been relatively slow to make a move one way or another, balancing the rising concerns of consumers with the concerns of large food production companies where BPA coatings are standard packaging procedure. On the one hand, the FDA has voiced concern about the risks associated with BPA; on the other hand, it hasn’t taken any action against it. But as a part of a court settlement with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the FDA must now make a decision by no later than March 31 on whether to ban the controversial and ubiquitous chemical.
According to reports, the NRDC first petitioned the FDA to ban bisphenol-A back in 2008 – but the FDA failed to respond within a legally required time frame, and have said little to nothing on the issue within the past two years, prompting the NRDC to take their case to court.
“There have been no updates,” Sarah Janssen, senior scientist at NRDC, told the Washington Post. “FDA has not been very public or transparent on what they’re doing on BPA… We welcome more science, but there comes a point when you have enough information to make a decision, and in this case, we think that point passed years ago.”
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While the NRDC is hoping that the ultimate ruling in March will lead to a ban on bisphenol-A in the United States, other organizations like the American Chemistry Council and the Grocery Manufacturers Association hope that the FDA will rule that BPA is safe. “Every other regulatory authority around the globe has concluded that BPA is safe for use in food containers,” GMA vice president Scott Faber told the Post, “and we expect FDA will reconfirm this finding.”
Meanwhile the FDA hasn’t hinted at which way it is leaning. But one thing’s certain: one way or another, we’ll have a definitive answer when it all shakes out in March.