Inching Toward Safer Baby Bottles

by Matthew Freeman

The battle over bisphenol A (BPA) in plastic baby bottles took another interesting turn today when the FDA’s own scientific advisory panel issued a stinging rebuke of the agency for its determination that the toxic substance is not harmful.

 

According to the Washington Post, FDA

did not take into consideration scores of studies that have linked bisphenol A (BPA) to prostate cancer, diabetes and other health problems in animals when it completed a draft risk assessment of the chemical last month. The panel said the FDA didn't use enough infant formula samples and didn't adequately account for variations among the samples.

As a result, the report from the panel says, FDA failed to provide “reasonable and appropriate scientific support” for its conclusion. According to a Bloomberg story,

An estimated 93 percent of Americans have traces of bisphenol A in their urine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention based in Atlanta. The chemical was declared ``toxic' in April by the Canadian government, which plans to ban baby bottles made with BPA.

Interestingly, the Post story takes a little editorial license, asserting that the panel’s conclusion is “likely to put to rest charges by environmental groups and public health advocates that the panel's chairman, Martin Philbert, co-director of the University of Michigan's Risk Science Center, was influenced by grants that his center received from Dow Chemical, a major BPA manufacturer. Dow gave the center $15 million for research on dioxin.” Another reasonable interpretation would be that efforts by environmental and health groups to shine some light on the chair’s obvious conflict of interest might have played some role in helping the panel to do the right thing, despite the conflict.
 

 



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