Washington, D.C.—On March 29, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a bisphenol-A (BPA) action plan to assess the environmental impacts of the chemical and to require testing of its environmental effects. Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) publicly announced its concern over the presence and detrimental health effects of BPA in food packaging and in the environment.

As published in WholeFoods Magazine’s March 2010 issue, BPA present in polycarbonate plastic is an endocrine disruptor. The U.S. National Toxicology Program reported “some concern for effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and children at current human exposures to [BPA].” Other studies show the carcinogenic effects of the compound.

Steve Owens, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances stated, “We share FDA’s concern about the potential health impacts from BPA…Both EPA and FDA, and many other agencies, are moving forward to fully assess the environmental and health impacts to ensure that the full range of BPA’s possible impacts are examined.”

While FDA declared concern for the substance, it is the EPA that has regulatory authority over the environmental impacts of the chemical under the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976. With EPA’s acknowledgement of and agreement with FDA’s stance, BPA will now be added to EPA’s chemical concern list. Information about BPA concentrations in surface water, ground water, and drinking water will be accumulated and reviewed. EPA will also require manufacturers to provide test data to assist in analyzing BPA’s effects on human and environmental health. EPA will also use its Design for the Environment program to reduce unnecessary exposure and encourage the development of BPA substitutes.

BPA research, risk assessment and regulation is being accomplished through a collaborative effort between EPA, FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, June 2010