Scientists Rebuff FDA's Claim that BPA is SafeApr 13, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
A group of experts from around the globe, including 58 scientists in industry, academia, and government, have rejected the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) long-maintained claims that the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) is safe. The “international consortium,” said ContraCostaTimes met in Germany in March and is collaborating on a “consensus statement” to be released in the next “few weeks.”
Although the meeting was closed to the public, McClatchy Newspapers—parent of the Contra Costa Times—interviewed a number of the scientists in attendance and has seen, it said, “several working versions of their agreement.”
The FDA continues to deem BPA safe for all consumers, even the most vulnerable infants, children, and pregnant women, despite that science keeps pointing to its dangerous health effects, even at low levels. A significant problem since BPA is highly ubiquitous and present in scores of consumer products such as some baby bottles, sippy cups, food and formula cans, CD cases, and eyeglasses, to name just some. BPA is a chemical used to strengthen plastic.
BPA has been found to be harmful to humans, especially to the growing bodies of infants and children. The Associated Press reported in an earlier article that the problem with BPA and young children is that younger, developing kidneys tend to retain the toxin in their bodies longer than the kidneys of older children and adults, a serious concern given the frequency with which babies are exposed to BPA from plastic products geared to the youngest consumers.
BPA, a chemical estrogen, has been linked to a variety of diseases including an increased risk of diseases or disorders of the brain, reproductive system, and immune system; problems with liver function testing; diabetes and heart disease; interruptions in chemotherapy treatment; and hormonal disturbances. BPA was also linked to serious health problems based on 130 studies conducted in the past 10 years, the Washington Post reported late last year, and newer research found BPA to have negative effects at “very low doses,” lower than current FDA safety standards.
But, despite overwhelming evidence presented by a wide array of experts saying that BPA is dangerous, and moves by major retailers and manufacturers to ban BPA from products—not to mention increasing U.S. and Canadian governmental moves to ban the chemical—the FDA continues to maintain that current BPA exposure levels do not pose an immediate health risk to the general population, including infants and young children.
Worse, it is widely known that the agency relied solely on two industry-funded studies for its information, something for which it has long been criticized. Now, said the ContraCostaTimes, the group questions those studies on which the FDA has based its findings, found that the studies did not look at serious BPA dangers, and is calling for a “broader” look at BPA. Meanwhile, a speaker at the conference—Rochelle Tyl—who authored the two studies, which were paid for by the American Chemistry Council, a BPA makers trade association, acknowledged that “there were errors and inconsistencies in the 2008 report that the FDA used as the foundation for its findings,” said the ContraCostaTimes.
According to Laura Vandenberg, a developmental biologist at Tufts University, "It is becoming undeniable that BPA is dangerous…. The FDA's standard for safety is reasonable certainty. It is no longer reasonable to say that BPA is safe," quoted the ContraCostaTimes. The group also questioned the European Food Safety Authority’s findings, which also relied on the two studies. The Safety Authority is the policymaker for all European Union countries, the ContraCostaTimes noted.