Friday, April 24, 2009

BPA update

from Dr. Douglas' email digest today:

Scientists uniting to attack FDA inaction on BPA

Dear Friend,

The tide that's been turning against the dangerous chemical additive Bisphenol A (BPA) has officially become a tsunami. Not long ago, I told you that state senators had prompted major manufacturers of plastic baby bottles to discontinue the use of the substance. And now the scientific community has finally taken a stand against BPA and called the FDA on the carpet for the federal agency's repeated claims that BPA is safe.

Fifty-eight scientists from all over the world and from nearly every scientific discipline are currently working at on a soon-to-be released "consensus statement" that will attack the FDA's stance on BPA.

What makes this hazardous material so dangerous is its ubiquity – it's been used in the making of shatterproof plastics and food containers for over 50 years.

BPA is a chemical estrogen that seeps into the foods and drinks that are often found in containers made from these plastics - like baby formula, for example. And that's how it spreads into humans. It's been linked to all manner of hideous maladies: liver problems, brain disorder, heart disease, hormonal disruption, diabetes, and more. BPA can cause young kids to retain toxins in their bodies for abnormally long periods.

In all, over 130 studies in the last decade have connected the development of serious health issues with BPA. Recent studies have shown that it doesn't take much BPA to start having a negative impact on health – even doses lower than the FDA's standards can be harmful.

Developmental biologist Laura Vandenberg of Tufts University says that the dangers of BPA are "becoming undeniable."

"The FDA's standard for safety is reasonable certainty," Vandenberg says. "It is no longer reasonable to say that BPA is safe."

The penny seems to have dropped on the issue of BPA for pretty much the rest of the planet. There are efforts by elements within the U.S. and Canadian governments to officially ban the use of the material.

Yet the FDA still insists it's safe. It's truly one of the more pig-headed stances you're likely to find in a government agency – and remember, this is the U.S. government we're talking about … that's a pretty long history of pig-headedness.

This stance on the safety of BPA is based on two studies that were funded by the American Chemistry Council (ACC) – an organization made up of the leaders of the very companies that profit from the manufacture of this dangerous chemical. Most people would think that a pro-BPA study paid for by the makers of BPA would be somewhat biased. Alas, the FDA is not like most people. Not sane people anyway.

In fact, Rochelle Tyl, who authored BOTH the ACC studies backing up the safety of BPA, admitted that the report on which the FDA based its decision-making shouldn't be taken at face value. The ContraCostaTimes reported that Tyl admitted that "there were errors and inconsistencies in the 2008 report that the FDA used as the foundation for its findings." And she did this in front of the very international consortium that's working on a statement condemning the FDA's stance.

It doesn't get much more convincing than that. I wonder why she was telling the consortium this, and not the FDA…