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FDA nixes proposed ban on food packaging chemical

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has denied a petition to ban a plastic-hardening chemical common to food and drink packaging such as bottles and cans.

The FDA has decided that there is not enough evidence proving that the chemical known as bisphenol A (AKA BPA) is hazardous to human health, and would need to see the data from federal studies currently being conducted before considering such a ban.

“The information provided in your petition was not sufficient to persuade FDA, at this time, to initiate rulemaking to prohibit the use of BPA in human food and food packaging,” David H. Horsey, an acting associate FDA commissioner, said in a letter to the Natural Resources Defense Council as reported in Bloomberg.

Health advocates have been swift to criticize the FDA’s decision.

"We believe FDA made the wrong call," Sarah Janssen, senior scientist in the public health program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement to the Huffington Post. "The agency has failed to protect our health and safety ­-- in the face of scientific studies that continue to raise disturbing questions about the long-term effects of BPA exposures."

According to the National Institutes of Health, BPA mimics female hormone estrogen and may affect the brain and prostate gland in fetuses and young children.

The FDA’s denial of the petition is a win for the chemical industry, and they were also quick to respond to the news.

"FDA's decision today, which has taken into consideration the best available science, again confirms that BPA is safe for use in food-contact materials, as it has been approved and used safely for four decades," said Steven G. Hentges of the American Chemistry Council in a statement to the Huffington Post.