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Bisphenol-A Exposure: FDA to Take Closer Look at Safety

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By David Goguen on June 04, 2009 10:21 AM

The safety of Bisphenol-A, a dangerous chemical that can still be found in baby formula bottles and other products, will undergo stronger FDA scrutiny after a back-and-forth between federal lawmakers and new FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg earlier this week.

On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Henry A. Waxman and Congressman Bart Stupak sent a letter to Hamburg, expressing concerns over the possible dangers of Bisphenol-A (BPA).

In a Press Release from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce announcing the letter, Committee Chairman Waxman said "It is critical that we know for certain whether BPA is safe to use in consumer products and food product containers. . . We need to make sure that FDA thoroughly and fairly reviews the best science on BPA so that the public - and especially infants and children - are protected."

And yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that FDA Commissioner Hamburg agreed that the agency would take a closer look at its current stance that BPA is safe at the levels at which it's found in products like baby bottles, saying that the FDA's chief scientist is in charge of a review that could be completed by the end of the summer.

BPA is a potentially harmful chemical that is used to harden plastics and as a coating for cans and bottles. A key health concern that's been spotlighted in recent months is the levels at which consumers -- especially infants -- are being exposed to BPA, and the health risks of that exposure.

At both the federal and state level, laws are being introduced that would ban the use of BPA -- including a federal bill that would ban BPA in all beverage and food containers, and a California law that would "ban the use of BPA in baby bottles, sippy cups and other feeding devices aimed at children," as the San Francisco Chronicle notes.