FDA misses BPA deadline, again

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration missed its third, self-imposed deadline for new consumer guidelines about the safety of using products made with bisphenol A (BPA).

The chemical is an endocrine disruptor often found in the linings of food and beverage cans (“The myth of the BPA-free diet,” Dec. 3, 2009, RN&R). It’s been linked to a range of health issues, including cancer, birth defects, sexual dysfunction and heart disease. It’s been found in 93 percent of Americans tested and 90 percent of newborns, who are thought to be particularly susceptible to its effects.

After the agency missed a Nov. 30 deadline, spokesperson Michael Herndon said the public could expect a decision before the end of 2009. When that date passed, the agency declined to set a new deadline.

The FDA declared BPA safe for all uses in August 2008. But that declaration was based on two industry-funded studies, and chemical industry lobbyists wrote entire sections of the FDA’s opinion. The agency’s science board called for a reevaluation of the chemical’s safety, the results of which the public is still waiting to hear. Meanwhile, bills are pending in Congress to ban BPA in products that come in contact with food.