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Science Board Advises Caution on BPA November 2, 2008

Posted by Center for Inquiry Office of Public Policy in Annoucements, Commentary.
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You thought that bisphenol A (BPA) was safe? Bisphenol A is the ingredient in the lining of baby bottles and drink containers that has been suspected of toxicity.  The government of Canada thinks it is toxic, and has banned its use in anything used by children.

But a U.S. government agency, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), released a draft report in August saying that BPA is safe, even for babies and children.  Turns out that the report was based on work done by the American Chemistry Council and the American Plastics Council, organizations who represent the manufacturers of BPA and similar chemicals.

Now a scientific subcommittee has released a report blasting the FDA’s process in evaluating BPA. While it says that small amounts of BPA may not be seriously harmful, it also calls for a greater margin of safety in the use of BPA.

Responding to the subcommittee report, the FDA agrees that more research is needed and it declares that it is already looking at the effects of small amounts of BPA.  But the FDA also advises parents to use glass or other bottles instead of polycarbonate plastic bottles to feed babies; not to heat baby formula in these plastic bottles; and consult with their pediatrician about switching to powdered formula.  The Acting Surgeon General adds that “the best source of nutrition for babies is the mother’s breast milk. ” He adds that infant formula is next best, but he doesn’t say what bottles to use.

The FDA is not off the hook on BPA–Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach has been asked by the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation to explain the earlier endorsement of BPA  Stay tuned!