This week a seven-member scientific panel, including toxicology and environmental health experts from the EPA and CDC, issued a strongly worded report criticizing the FDA on their response to concerns over products containing bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical used in the making of plastic water bottles, baby bottles, food containers and other products from which BPA could leach into food and drinks.
According to the panel the FDA ignored strong evidence to the contrary and used flawed methods when determining that BPA is not harmful. Comprised of scientists from government and universities the report claims that the FDA did not consider dozens of studies linking BPA to diseases and conditions like diabetes, prostate cancer, early puberty and sexual dysfunctions in animals.
LEFT – Female reproductive effects linked to BPA exposure – Environmental Working Group
Many of the studies pointed out were reviewed by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), which did find that BPA could possibly harm brain development and cause behavioral problems in infants and small children.
In response to the report the FDA, which is in charge of regulating the chemicals used in plastic food containers, agrees that “…due to the uncertainties raised in some studies relating to the potential effects of low doses of bisphenol-A that additional research would be valuable.”
According to the CDC, more than 90% of Americans are exposed to trace amounts of bisphenol, which leaches out of water bottles, the lining of cans and other plastic food containers. The level of exposure may increase if such containers are used when microwaving food or heating up milk.
Canada and many other developed countries have already banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and other plastic food and drink containers. The United States has yet to do so, despite overwhelming evidence of BPA’s potentially harmful effects.
The United States’ free-market economy doesn’t always wait for government to regulate the safety of products. Many retailers and manufacturers are already offering non-BPA alternatives like steel drinking water bottles and glass baby bottles. Maybe soon the FDA will catch up with corporate America’s own response to concerns raised by citizens who just want healthy products for themselves and their children.