Reversing itself, FDA expresses concerns over health risks from BPA
The Food and Drug Administration has reversed its position on the safety of Bisphenol A, a chemical found in plastic bottles, soda cans, food containers and thousands of consumer goods, saying it now has concerns about health risks.
Growing scientific evidence has linked the chemical to a host of problems, including cancer, sexual dysfunction and heart disease. Federal officials said they are particularly concerned about BPA's effect on the development of fetuses, infants and young children.
"We have some concern, which leads us to recommend reasonable steps the public can take to reduce exposure to BPA," said Joshua Sharfstein, FDA's deputy commissioner, in a conference call to reporters Friday.
Regulators stopped short of banning the compound or even requiring manufacturers to label products containing BPA, saying that current data are not clear enough to support a legal crackdown. FDA officials also said they were hamstrung from dealing quickly with BPA by an outdated regulatory framework.
One administration official privy to the talks said the FDA is in a quandary. "They have new evidence that makes them worried, but they don't have enough proof to justify pulling the stuff, so what do you do?" said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "You want to warn people, but you don't want to create panic."
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