BPA-Free Baby Bottles
Earlier this week, the federal government outlawed the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. This decision was not without controversy. In fact, BPA is one of the most controversial chemicals going through many tests and trials. Efforts are being made to determine whether it’s safe or not in products making contact with food. There have been many fights to push the FDA to ban BPA in all plastic coverings, but with little success until recently.
What is BPA?
BPA is short for bisphenol-A. It is a plastic-hardening chemical used in a variety of materials. It is clear, strong, lightweight, and resistant to heat and shattering. These properties make it useful in a variety of ways. In addition to bottles and sippy cups, BPA is used in eyeglasses, water bottles, cell phones, other electronic devices, helmets, food cans, and even dental sealant!
NRDC vs. FDA
There are two very basic arguments associated with the use of bisphenol-A. The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) argues that BPA is unsafe for human consumption and can be harmful to the brains and reproductive system in infants and children. Some studies show that BPA may, indeed, be harmful by upping the risk of certain forms of cancer, obesity, and developmental problems.
The USFDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) stands by the belief that BPA is perfectly safe. “The agency continues to support the safety of BPA for use in products that hold food,” FDA spokesman, Allen Curtis, said in a statement. In March, the FDA rejected the NRDC’s proposal to ban BPA in all food packaging, angering many.
NRDC has criticized the FDA for their decision to only ban BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. They support banning BPA in all food packaging and accuse the FDA of taking only an insignificant baby step towards consumer safety. They assert the belief that the FDA only banned bisphenol-A in baby bottles because baby bottle manufacturers had already ceased using the chemical in their products out of safety concerns.
Let’s Look Towards The Future…
While the FDA and NRDC are at odds on the safety of BPA, private companies like Campbell Soup have announced plans to ban BPA from its cans. The controversy over this plastic-hardening chemical is far from over. Petitions are still being written and studies are still being performed. Actually, the federal government is spending $30 million to test BPA on their own to determine its safety. The FDA and NRDC are expectantly waiting for the results. When the results are received, further action to outlaw BPA in more products, could be taken.
Being informed is the first step to a better quality of living. As consumers, becoming aware of BPA and voting with our wallet (avoiding products that contain BPA) may be the best way yet to safeguard our own health.