FDA Slammed Over Pace Of BPA StudyOct 13, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
BPA (bisphenol A), the commonly used plastic hardener and polycarbonate plastic byproduct that makes regular headlines for its links to a growing array of adverse health effects, as well as its growing ubiquity, is making news again. No surprise. This time, the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel (JSOnline) is reporting that the United States government is stalling in its study of the toxin’s effects.
BPA can be found in everything from baby bottles, sippy cup, water bottles, aluminum can linings, eyeglasses, and cars, to DVD and CD cases and some dental sealants. BPA can also be found in appliances and windshields; on recyclable bottles, BPA, as a component, can be verified if the item contains recycling number 7. We recently wrote that BPA has also been found to be present in common paper receipts. With BPA turning up in carbonless copy and thermal imaging papers, its common usage has grown exponentially.
JSOnline reported that millions of dollars are being unnecessarily dumped into more studies into the effects of BPA; given that an astounding number of studies—over 900—have been conducted and confirm the negative risks, the 33 BPA experts from the scientific community, find the multi-million dollar study redundant. Most of the scientists hail from universities and recently sent a letter to Margaret Hamburg, the commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with accusations that the agency is dragging on the issue and endangering consumer health, said JSOnline.
BPA has long been connected to a wide variety of adverse effects, including 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 can be passed to future generations.
In urine tests, BPA is found in the overwhelming majority of Americans, more than 93 percent.
The agency has long announced that it is reassessing its earlier opinions and has scheduled to release its opinion at the end of next month. The researchers feel this is a time-waster. "FDA's plans to spend significant time and money on a very well researched chemical are disturbing," quoted JSOnline, citing the letter, which was signed by the scientists, all experts on BPA, with many having served on government teams. The FDA has been harshly criticized for ruling BPA as safe, basing its findings on two industry-sponsored studies.
Laws are either in effect or coming into effect in coming months in a variety of states and counties in the United States in which the sale of certain products containing polycarbonate has been banned, for instance, baby bottles, food containers, and sippy cups. Canada was the first country to announce plans to ban BPA, calling it a toxin and some retailers and manufacturers have announced plans to stop making products containing the chemical. Other states, said JSOnline, are looking into similar measures and a federal ban has been proposed in Congress on all food contact material.