FDA Reportedly To Delay BPA DecisionNov 30, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has long said it is announcing its ruling on the safety of the plastic-hardening chemical bisphenol A—BPA—today, it appears the agency is delaying its self-imposed deadline, reports the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel (JSOnline).
The industrial chemical, a polycarbonate plastic byproduct, has made headlines over its connection to a wide variety of adverse health events, a worrisome issue given the chemical’s overwhelming ubiquity. BPA recently made JSOnline news when it reported that the U.S. government was stalling its study of BPA’s effects; the outlet accused the FDA of endangering consumer health because of its delays on releasing a ruling.
BPA can be found in everything from baby bottles, sippy cup, water bottles, aluminum can linings, eyeglasses, and cars, to DVD and CD cases, some dental sealants, appliances, windshields, and common paper receipts, to name some. On recyclable bottles, BPA, as a component, can be verified if the item contains recycling number 7.
BPA has been connected to increased risks of brain, reproductive, cardiac, and immune system diseases and disorders; problems with liver function testing; interruptions in chemotherapy treatment; and links with serious health problems. Studies have overwhelmingly found BPA to have negative effects at doses lower than current FDA standards; retention in the body longer than was previously believed; leeching into liquids being held in containers regardless of the containers’ temperature; and longer lasting damage, which some feel can be passed to future generations. Recent reports link high levels of exposure to BPA to erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems in males.
Developed in the 1930s as an estrogenic mimicker, BPA appears to wreak havoc on the body’s’ endocrine system. Today, in urine tests, BPA is found in the overwhelming majority of Americans, more than 93 percent.
Now, the FDA is saying it will likely release its ruling on Monday; however, JSOnline said its sources say the agency is likelier to request additional time to enable its scientists to look at the many emerging studies concerning BPA’s effects.
Industry argues that scientists and consumer advocates exaggerate the chemical’s adverse effects, continually citing two industry studies; however, at last count, over 900 peer-reviewed studies found links between BPA and adverse health effects. The FDA has maintained that BPA was safe, basing its finding on these two studies; however, noted JSOnline, the agency’s science board recommended it had not looked at enough of the studies and began its review, setting the November 30th deadline.
JSOnline reported that, based on emails it obtained, it seems the FDA’s prior ruling was crafted, in part, by “lobbyists for the BPA-makers.” JSOnline reported that FDA scientists looked to chemical industry lobbyists when analyzing BPA’s risks, tracking legislation to ban BPA, and when monitoring BPA’s media coverage, said JSOnline.
Environmental groups are hoping to be able to urge the FDA to implement public health warnings, include mandatory food can labeling, and place interim bans on BPA, said JSOnline.
In 2008, said JSOnline, over seven billion pounds of BPA were manufactured in the U.S. Also, said JSOnline, a Consumer Reports study released last month and developed after tests performed by the Journal Sentinel, discovered BPA traces in almost all food cans, most significantly, even in cans marked “BPA Free.”