FDA to decide on BPA-use in food packaging by March 31

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canned soup, can, bpa
Flickr/stevendepolo
(CBS News) - The controversial chemical BPA may be on it's way out of your food supply.

The FDA said they will issue a ruling about the use of BPA in food and beverage packaging by March 31, 2012. The inquiry is a result of a Natural Resources Defense Council 2008 lawsuit and petition, asking that the FDA ban the potentially hazardous component.

BPA, or Bisphenol-A, is found in a variety of food packaging, including Campbell's Soup cans. In September 2011, researchers from Breast Cancer Fund reported that many cans of kid-friendly foods included BPA, which mimics estrogen and has been linked in studies to increased breast cancer risk. Campbell's Soup was rated the highest in the study because of the increased levels of BPA and because the food was appealing to children.

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Breast cancer is not the only reported health risk. A study in Pediatrics showed that BPA consumption in pregnant women and in girls up to the age of three could change the child's behavior, making them feel more anxious or be more hyperactivity, HealthPop reported. U.K. researchers found in three separate studies that people with heart disease had higher levels of BPA in their urine, according to Reuters.

Initially, Campbell's Soup Company told Forbes that they were sure their products were safe. "The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence shows that the use of BPA in can lining poses no threat to human health," Campbell Soup Company spokesman Anthony Sanzio said. "That being said, we understand that consumers may have concerns about it. We're very aware of the debate and we're watching it intently."

At a February shareholder's meeting, Campbell announced their intent to move towards non-BPA cans. On its official website, the company still maintained their statement that the cans were safe, but said due to the debate between consumers over the safety of the chemical, they are already using alternative materials and working to phase out BPA all together. Campbell Soup Company spokesman Anthony Sanzio told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the company had been working for five years to find a different material to contain their products.

Removing BPA from packaging my also have a financial impact for companies, considering that French lawmakers have already moved to ban BPA in all food packaging, according to Forbes. Reuters also reported that Canada has declared BPA a toxin. This would make it difficult to import American products that might contain the chemical.

The FDA has more on BPA.

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