BPA Controversy Still Simmering

January 13th, 2009 | Sources: NY Times, Washington Post

Cornered by a report from its own advisory board claiming it ignored studies showing that bisphenol A (BPA) threatens public health, the FDA announced it will reconsider its guidelines governing the chemical’s use in metal can linings, plastic baby bottles and food containers.

In August, the FDA deemed BPA safe as currently used. In doing so, it relied on 2 studies funded by a trade organization representing BPA manufacturers.

But the National Toxicology Program, a division of the Department of HHS suggested BPA causes brain damage and behavioral abnormalities in infants and children.

And a JAMA study showed that adults with high urinary BPA levels are more likely to develop diabetes and diseases of the heart and liver.

Oh, and 200 other studies have linked BPA to diseases ranging from reproductive problems to immune deficiency. The studies suggest BPA has negative effects at ingested levels below those deemed safe by the FDA.

Nevertheless, FDA official Mitchell Cheeseman had claimed that only those 2 potentially conflict-ridden studies met the agency’s criteria for assessing human safety of BPA.

All the other ones “lacked details about how the study was done, (and) don’t include all the raw data, so independent auditing can’t be done by agency scientists, and they have a variety of protocol limitations.” Cheeseman told the New York Times.

The editors over at JAMA probably got a good laugh out of that one.

OK so now at the request of its own oversight committee on BPA, the FDA has reversed course and the case is open once again.

That’s something, but not enough according to Anila Jacob, a senior scientist at the Environmental Working Group. 

“Every day we continue to delay removing this chemical from baby products is another day millions of infants continue to be exposed,” she told the Times.


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