It’s been less than a month since the FDA rejected a ban on bisphenol A (BPA) in food and beverage packaging – a massive fail in our opinion. Other countries aren’t messing around with this potentially harmful chemical though. On April 13, the government of Sweden announced the decision to ban the use of (BPA) in packaging for food intended for children under 3 years of age. For a while, there’s been a voluntary phase-out of BPA in Sweden, but these new laws will make sure the change becomes permanent. Government officials say that this new chemical ban will mostly, at this point, affect lids of baby food bottles but the new mandate also gives the Swedish Chemicals Agency a 3-month deadline to decide if BPA should also be banned from certain types of thermal paper, including receipts and tickets, and to determine how BPA is being used in drinking-water pipes, toys and children’s goods.
A 2011 report (pdf) compiled by the Swedish Chemicals Agency notes that when animals have been given even very low doses of BPA, it can result in a variety of negative effects on brain development. The report does note that current BPA studies are difficult to evaluate, especially as related to low-dose exposure. Still, the report also notes that the uncertainty of BPA risks means it’s better to avoid long-term exposure to the chemical instead of messing around with it, at least until more research can be done. Food Product Design reports that the Minister for the Environment Lena Ek notes, “Parents must be able to feel confident about the products with which their children come into contact in daily life. As a matter of caution, we are now acting in all areas that the agencies believe play a significant role in the exposure of young children. The EU should take more far-reaching initiatives than today to limit children’s exposure to bisphenol A and other known endocrine disruptors.” With this ban, Sweden is joining Canada, China, Turkey and other countries who have already banned BPA in products. We’d love to see the United States government follow their lead and ban BPA, sooner, rather than later, but we’re not holding our breath.
Lead Image by Flickr User sjon