FDA Declares Bisphenol A Safe

Bisphenol A, or BPA, is the chemical used in various plastic bottles and can linings that Canada recently banned, consumers in Arkansas, California, and Ohio have filed lawsuits over, and Playtex and Nalgene have stopped using. The fear is that it’s toxic—studies on animals in Canada have shown that it’s damaging, and some tests in the U.S. suggest it’s harmful to humans as well. Critics of the anti-BPA movement point out that the human studies rely on super high dosages that never occur in real life, and that making safety decisions based on the general public’s fears isn’t exactly scientific.

Now—right before California decides whether to ban BPA in children’s products—the FDA has revisited its earlier studies and reaffirmed that “the trace amounts of bisphenol A that leach out of food containers are not a threat to infants or adults.”

Critics are saying the FDA is cherry-picking what studies to consider in its decision:

“It’s ironic FDA would choose to ignore dozens of studies funded by (the National Institutes of Health) — this country’s best scientists — and instead rely on flawed studies from industry,” said Pete Myers, chief scientist for Environmental Health Sciences.

Myers said the agency disregarded recent studies of bisphenol’s effects included in the National Toxicology Program’s April draft report.

That group’s review of animal studies suggested low doses of bisphenol can cause changes in behavior and the brain, and that it may reduce survival and birth weight in fetuses. A final version of the group’s findings is expected next month.

Commenting on those studies in its 105-page assessment, the FDA said they had “inconsistencies and inadequacies which limit the interpretations of the findings.”

We’re not sure what sort of effect this will have on the pending lawsuits or on California’s potential ban, but the BPA debate should take on new energy next month, when the National Toxicology Program’s final report is released and the FDA brings in outside “advisors” to debate its own findings.

“FDA says chemical found in plastic bottles is safe” [Associated Press]
(Photo: Oop)

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