BALTIMORE (September 21, 2012) – The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) is seeking public comment related to Bisphenol-A in infant formula containers. This request follows submission of a report to the General Assembly on the findings of federal research and regulatory activities related to BPA.
In 2011, the General Assembly adopted legislation stating that after July 1, 2014, the State may not purchase infant formula in containers containing more than 0.5 parts per billion (ppb) of bisphenol-A (BPA). In addition, the legislation states that a person may not manufacture, knowingly sell, or distribute in commerce a container of infant formula containing more than 0.5 ppb of BPA. Substitutes for BPA used to comply with the above provisions must be safe and legal, and specifically may not be rated as Group A, B, or C carcinogens by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or reproductive toxicants that cause birth defects, reproductive harm, or developmental harm as identified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The law also requires DHMH to adopt regulations to carry out the above provisions.
In addition, the Act required DHMH to report by September 1, 2012, to the House Health and Government Operations Committee and Senate Finance Committee on the findings of federal research and regulatory activities related to BPA.
Based on available scientific evidence, DHMH did not reach the conclusion that BPA in infant formula is unsafe. Given that substantial research is still ongoing, DHMH could not exclude a potential risk. Click here to view the entire report.
One question unanswered in the report is whether the imposition of the 0.5 ppb standard for testing in the formula could produce unforeseen adverse consequences. Given environmental sources of BPA, it is important that the testing method be specific to formula, credible, and reliable.
The Secretary proposes to seek public comments and input on the specific question of the use of the numeric standard of 0.5 parts per billion (ppb) in the implementation of the Act. Specifically, the Secretary poses the following questions:
What are the technical issues involved in adopting a numeric standard of 0.5 ppb?
What are the public health issues involved in adopting a numeric standard of 0.5 ppb?
What would be the alternatives to a numeric standard, and what would be the public health consequences of adopting a different criterion?
The Secretary has asked the Children’s Environmental Health and Protection Advisory Council (CEHPAC) to review comments and to make recommendations on whether DHMH should take any additional action. CEHPAC was established in 2000 by legislation. CEHPAC advises the Governor and the General Assembly on environmental issues that may pose a threat to children. CEHPAC will then vote on recommendations to put forward to the Secretary.
For more information, click here.
Written comments should be submitted by Friday, October 12 at 5:00 PM.
Comments may be submitted by mail to Michele Phinney, Director, Office of Regulation and Policy Coordination, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 201 W. Preston St., Room 512, Baltimore, MD 21201, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by fax to 410-767-6483.
Stay connected: www.twitter.com/MarylandDHMH or www.facebook.com/MarylandDHMH