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FDA on BPA: 'Some Concern,' No Ban

Take 'Reasonable Steps' to Avoid Plastics Chemical Bishpenol A, Agency Advises

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Sharfstein said the FDA is seeking greater regulatory powers to track and control industrial use of the chemical. Current 1960s-era regulations allow manufacturers to use BPA without telling the FDA they are doing so. But the FDA is checking to see whether more recent legislation gives it the power to force manufacturers to notify the FDA of BPA use -- and to allow the FDA to ban products if manufacturers don't perform safety studies.

The plastics industry group American Chemistry Council says it's "disappointed" that the new FDA recommendations are "unfounded."

"Plastics made with BPA contribute safety and convenience to our daily lives because of their durability, clarity, and shatter resistance," the group says in a news release. "Can liners and food-storage containers made with BPA are essential components to helping protect the safety of packaged foods and preserving products from spoilage and contamination."

The FDA says it will help industry seek alternatives to BPA. Some alternatives exist. Sharfstein noted that the six largest manufacturers of baby bottles -- representing more than 90% of the U.S. market -- are now making baby bottles without BPA.

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