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Bill to Ban BPA Re-introduced in Congress at End of Session

The Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2014, sponsored by Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) is substantially the same bill as the Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2013 (H.R. 2248) and the Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2011 (H.R. 432), both introduced by then Rep. Edward J. Markey.

Ban Poisonous Additives Act of 2014, introduced as S. 2572 in the Senate and H.R. 5033 in the House on July 9, 2014, would ban the use of Bisphenol A (BPA) in both reusable and non-reusable food containers. It does provide a very limited exemption to the ban for manufacturers of food products who can demonstrate that it is not technologically feasible to replace BPA in certain containers in the form of a waiver issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Act specifically allows States and other jurisdictions to impose more stringent restrictions on the use of BPA in food packaging.

In addition to the provisions on BPA, the proposed legislation would make it mandatory for manufacturers to submit a Food Contact Notification (FCN) to FDA for all new food-contact substances, defined as any substance intended for use as a component of materials used in manufacturing, packing, packaging, transporting, or holding food if such use is not intended to have any technical effect in such food. The proposal also would require FDA to reevaluate substances that are the subject of an existing food additive approval, effective FCN, or are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) under Parts 182, 184, and 186 of Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

H.R. 5033 was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce on July 9 and S. 2572 was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pension also on July 9. GovTrack predicts that S. 2572 has 0% chance of getting out of committee and 0% chance of being enacted. Despite little chance of being enacted, the bill has garnered attention from both sides of the issue. Thirty-four environmental groups wrote a letter supporting the bill, while industry groups—such as the American Chemistry Council and the North American Metal Packaging Alliance Inc.—call the bill unnecessary.