The Food and Drug Administration must come up with a decision by March 31 on whether to ban a chemical that’s widely used in the plastics and metal linings of food containers, according to a court settlement reached Wednesday between the agency and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The NRDC filed a petition in 2008 asking the agency to ban bisphenol A, or BPA, citing a growing body of research that suggests exposure to the chemical might pose serious health risks. When the FDA failed to respond within the time frame required by law, the NRDC sued the agency.
The settlement forces the FDA to take a position on a chemical that’s been used for more than four decades to manufacture everything from the cans of liquid infant formula to the coating on grocery store receipts. The agreement, approved by New York Federal Judge Barbara S. Jones, said the FDA must issue a final decision, not a “tentative response.”