WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. health regulators denied a petition to ban a chemical used in water bottles, soup cans and other food and drink packaging that may cause harm to developing babies and young children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the petition to ban the chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, did not provide the scientific evidence needed to change current regulations.
BPA has been used for decades to harden plastic or make the epoxy resin that lines tin cans, but it can also leach into food and water from these protective coatings.
The FDA agreed to rule on whether to ban BPA use in food and beverage packaging as part of the settlement of a lawsuit reached in December with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
"The FDA denied the NRDC petition because it did not have the scientific data needed for the FDA to change current regulations, which allows the use of BPA in food packaging," FDA spokesman Douglas Karas said.
"I cannot stress enough that this is not a final safety determination on BPA."
In response to further scientific studies, Canada declared BPA a toxic substance in 2010. Both Canada and Europe have already banned it in the production of baby bottles, and France banned it in food packaging.
(Reporting by Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Richard Chang)