FDA Backpedals on Safety of BPA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is backing off its much-criticized position defending the safety of a ubiquitous chemical ingredient in plastics called Bisphenol-A (BPA). FDA now says it has "some concern" about the effects BPA has on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and children, and is offering the public tips on how to avoid the chemical. BPA is found in the lining of virtually all food and beverage cans. It is used to make hard, clear plastic for baby bottles, eyeglasses, dental sealants and hundreds of household objects. BPA leeches into food and drink when it is heated, and has been linked to reproductive failure, heart disease, diabetes, prostate and breast cancer obesity and behavioral problems. Use of BPA is so common that the chemical was found in the urine of 93 percent of Americans tested for it. Hundreds of studies have shown that BPA is harmful, but the FDA based its 2008 reassurance that the chemical is safe on just two studies, both of which were funded by the chemical industry. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel uncovered information showing that chemical industry lobbyists wrote entire sections of that FDA decision. The American Chemistry Council (ACC), which represents BPA manufacturers, has a very different spin on FDA's updated statement about BPA. It issued a press release saying the FDA's new statement "confirms that exposure to BPA in food contact products has not been proven harmful to children or adults."