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Posted by Chanchal S. Suri on December 16, 2008

Washington, United States, December 16: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ignoring the health risks of using bisphenol A (BPA), as discovered by many studies, said on Monday that it will continue its research on BPA exposure and effects.

Laura Tarantino, director of the FDA's Office of Food Additive Safety, said that the FDA will respond to the recommendations of various studies by performing additional analysis. She said she did not know if it would last months or years. "I can't tell you when we will finalize this," she said. "There is a lot of work."

Bisphenol A is a chemical that can disrupt hormonesdefine and is used to harden the plastic. BPA is found in many consumer products, including reusable water bottles and baby bottles.

A study from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that BPA is found in the urine of more than 90 percent of the U.S. people. Scientists believe that it is most easily ingested after leaching from plastic containers into food and drink.

In September, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) released their report on biphenyl A, finding "some concern" that infants were at risk from exposure to the chemical. It may affect the brain and behavioral development of fetuses, infants and young children.

Heart disease, diabetes and liver abnormalities are also linked with exposure to bisphenol A. Nonetheless, the FDA had reassured consumers that it was safe, but later convened an outside panel of experts to review the issue. Now, they are still thinking about whether BPA should be banned or not.

"More years of research by FDA to determine what thousands of scientists worldwide already know about the toxic chemical is a waste of time, taxpayer dollars, and will place millions of babies yet to be born at risk," said Alex Formuzis, a spokesman for the Environmental Working Group.

Canadian Health Minister Tony Clement announced Canada's intent to ban the import, sale, and advertisement of polycarbonate baby bottles containing bisphenol A due to safety concerns, and investigate ways to reduce BPA contamination of baby formula packaged in metal cans. U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D–N.Y.) also introduced legislation that would ban bisphenol A nationally from products for infants. Many retailers and manufacturers, meanwhile, have been offering BPA-free alternatives. Now the political pressure is also on FDA to ban this chemical use.

“FDA is re-evaluating available data, and planning for the acquisition of additional data that will strengthen the exposure estimates from all dietary sources of BPA, with particular attention to dietary sources relevant to infants and children,” the agency’s letter said.

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