Although the FDA is poised to make an announcement by the end of March concerning the use of the chemical BPA in food packaging, Representative Ed Markey (D-MA) took preemptive action yesterday asking the agency to permanently ban BPA from infant formula and baby food packaging, reusable food storage containers and canned goods.

“Industry practice, fueled by consumer demand, has led to the development of alternatives for BPA in these household products, and these petitions to FDA should close the door on the use of this dangerous chemical in food and beverage containers forever,” said Rep. Markey.

In a letter of support, Consumers Union agrees that the Congressman’s petitions  request “what the marketplace and an increasing body of scientific evidence argue – that BPA has no place in food packaging.”

Some food manufacturers are also taking action before the expected March 31 ruling.  Campbell’s soup recently announced that it is phasing out the use of BPA in its products, and has already switched to alternative packaging for some of its canned goods.  Seafood canner Crown Prince, which currently offers a dozen products on the market packed in BPA-free cans, also just stated that it is transitioning completely away from use of the chemical in all of its packaging.

Both companies cite consumer pressure as motive for the change. “[Our] customers and the public are active about the issue and it is easier to make our products BPA free instead of waiting for the FDA decision,” said a spokeswoman for Crown Prince.

In 2010 the FDA stated that it has ‘some concern’ for the effects of BPA on the prostate, brain and behavioral development of fetuses, infants and children.  Over 200 scientific studies show a wide range of additional health effects from exposure to BPA including breast and prostate cancer, birth defects, infertility in men, early puberty in girls, diabetes and obesity.