WASHINGTON (AFP) — A controversial plastic chemical found in baby bottles and other food containers does not pose a hazard when used at typical exposure levels, a US Food and Drug Administration draft said according to media reports Saturday.
The draft FDA assessment determined that exposure to trace amounts of bisphenol A (BPA) that leach out of containers into the food they hold is not a health danger, the reports said.
"FDA has concluded that an adequate margin of safety exists for BPA at current levels of exposure from food contact uses," the draft report said according to the Washington Post.
The draft is to be reviewed September 16 at a meeting of FDA advisory committee members.
Bisphenol A is a synthetic chemical compound found in some hard clear plastics and resins such as food and drink containers, compact disks, electronics and the liners in many metal cans.
Dozens of studies by government scientists and university researchers had found that BPA usage was a health concern, and in April Canada became the first country to announce it was banning the sale of polycarbonate baby bottles containing the chemical.
Health Canada began reassessing bisphenol A in November 2007 after several animal studies around the world found much of the chemical was leaching from consumer products.
According to the studies, the chemical has been linked to breast, ovarian and prostate cancer even at low doses.
Some major US retailers including Wal-Mart have announced they are taking steps to rid their shelves of childrens' products containing BPA.
The US chemical industry and agencies that regulate the use of BPA, however, have deemed the chemical safe, largely due to two industry-funded studies that gave it the all-clear.
"FDA is the premier agency responsible for the safety of our food," Steven Hentges, an executive of the American Chemistry Council, said in a statement.
"FDA's thorough analysis confirms that food contact products made from polycarbonate plastic, including products for infants and children, can continue to be used safely."
In April the US Health Department's National Toxicology Program helped raise an alarm about BPA, stating in a preliminary report that the chemical could cause "neural and behavioral effects in fetuses, infants and children, at current human exposures."
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