A scientific advisory panel has determined that the Food and Drug Administration used flawed methods and ignored key facts in deciding that a chemical used to harden plastic in baby bottles is safe.
The panel included academic and government scientists. Its critique lambasted the regulatory agency for examining an insufficient number of baby formula samples in its study of bisphenol A (BPA) and focusing solely on mean BPA values without regard for the fact that some samples had very high BPA values.
The report also cites the FDA for failure to mention animal studies which have shown links between BPA and diabetes, prostate cancer and other medical conditions, as well as National Toxicology Program studies that suggest BPA might adversely affect brain development in infants.
Because the FDA did not account for such findings, it ended up recommending a “safe level” of BPA that may not be safe at all, the report concluded.
An FDA spokesperson seemed to accept some aspects of the critique. The “FDA agrees that due to the uncertainties raised in some studies relating to the potential effects of low doses of bisphenol-A that additional research would be valuable,” Judy Leon told the Washington Post.
The FDA has begun to carry out additional research on the matter. Meanwhile, John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, his colleague Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and the attorneys general in several states are on record saying the bottle makers ought to just get rid of the stuff right now.
Canada recently enacted such a ban, and some retailers now sell BPA-free formula bottles in response to consumer outcries. The trade group representing BPA manufacturers has indicated its constituents will comply with FDA regulations once they are promulgated.