The Food and Drug Administration has rejected a petition from environmentalists that would have banned the plastic-hardening chemical bisphenol-A from all food and drink packaging.
The agency said petitioners did not present compelling scientific evidence that the much-debated chemical is dangerous when used in food cans, bottles and other packaging. Federal scientists continue to study the issue.
The Natural Resources Defense Council's petition was the latest attempt by safety advocates to prod regulators into taking action against the chemical, which is found in hundreds of household items.
Some scientists believe exposure to bisphenol-A, or BPA, can harm the reproductive and nervous systems, potentially leading to cancer and other diseases. About 90 percent of Americans have traces of BPA in their bodies, mainly because it leaches out of food containers.