The New York politician this week unveiled the BPA-Free Kids Act that would outlaw the chemical in packing for children aged three and under. It would also strengthen enforcement measures "across the nation" and include stiffer penalties for manufacturers, importers and stores that flout the regulations laid down in the bill. The law would require testing of materials used to manufacture plastic containers to ensure finished containers are BPA-free
BPA levels in canned food
Schumer said he was introducing the proposal in the wake of a report by the Consumer Union which said it had found higher than previously thought levels of BPA in a range of canned food.
“This Consumer Reports’ study adds to the mounting evidence that BPA is not only harmful for our children but for an overwhelming majority of Americans,” said Schumer. “We need to keep this dangerous chemical out of the food chain.”
BPA is used in polycarbonate baby bottles, children’s sippy cups and in the epoxy resin lining of food cans. Since 1997, over 100 published studies have documented adverse effects in animals caused by exposure to low levels of BPA, said the Senator. Mounting concern from both consumers and politicians in the US has seen the substance banned in some states and major baby bottle manufacturers and retailers pledge to use BPA-free products only.
The chemical industry has stated it believes the product is safe for use in food packaging and points to the approval for this by the world’s major food safety agencies, including the FDA and the EFSA.
The Schumer bill would impose a ban 180 days after being passed into law. It would also set out proposals for mandatory testing and certification by both plastics and container manufacturers to confirm products aimed at children were BPA-free. Test data from plastic suppliers and container manufacturers would be audited by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which would also sample relevant food containers on the sale to the public.
The regulation would also impose the need for clear labelling that the product was BPA-free.
Under the proposals, children’s food and beverage containers containing BPA would be considered a banned hazardous substance under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA), with possible criminal or civil penalties a consequence of any breach in terms of testing, certification, and labeling requirements.