Sunday, November 2, 2008

Bisphenol A not safe again!

Mommy instinct prevails! Most of you were not convinced bisphenol A is safe in baby bottles and other plastic even though the FDA said otherwise. Now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is changing its tune.

From the Washington Post: A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel agreed Friday that the agency had erred in August when it said that a chemical widely used in baby bottles and other plastic packaging for foods and beverages posed no health risks.

On Wednesday, a panel of toxicology experts said the FDA hadn't properly assessed the potential health risks posed by the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), which some studies have linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease and developmental delays in children. The toxicologists said the FDA had relied too heavily on studies funded by the chemical industry to make its decision, and had failed to consider other studies that questioned the safety of BPA.

The panel of toxicologists had been convened by the FDA after the agency ruled that BPA was safe at current exposure levels -- a stance that prompted criticism from some lawmakers and consumer groups. On Friday, the FDA's Science Board, which consists of scientists from academia, government and industry and advises the FDA commissioner, seconded the toxicologists' concerns about the FDA's August ruling. The issue will now go to FDA Commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach. It's unclear how the FDA might respond, the Washington Post reported.

"Let me be clear: There's no shame for having" your hypothesis disproved, von Eschenbach said during Friday's session, referring to BPA without mentioning it by name, the Dow Jones news service reported.

The FDA's position on BPA has been controversial because it contradicted more than 100 studies, as well as a finding by the U.S. National Toxicology Program, that there was "some concern" that BPA may affect the brain and behavioral development in fetuses, infants and small children, the Post said.

Norris Alderson, associate commissioner for science at the FDA, toldDow Jonesthat the agency will probably start research early in 2009 to determine the toxic effects of BPA on babies less than 1 month old. Babies are considered the most susceptible group to BPA's effects. It's unclear when those studies would be done, the news service said.

In September, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Associationsaid that people with high levels of BPA were more likely to have heart disease, including heart attack, or diabetes. High BPA levels increased the risk for these diseases by 39 percent, the researchers reported. To learn more about BPA, visit Environment California.

SOURCES: Hugh S. Taylor, M.D., director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, and professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; American Chemistry Council, news release, Oct. 31, 2008;Washington Post;Dow Jones

From what I know about this, this is unacceptable. The reason the FDA was looking into bispehol A in the first place is because of those 100 or so studies. So why in the world didn't they look at those studies before saying it was safe? There is no excuse for this. The evidence was there the first time. Why did they do such a poor job assessing the information that existed? Were they just in a hurry or what? I don't like this. If anyone has some insight for me, please share!

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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Maria said...

Look at who was in the group that did the first look. There were questions about objectivity from the start. I'm not surprised that this is getting another look.

sunnyday said...

The FDA was probably pressured into declaring that Bisphenol A is safe despite the 100 or so studies that show otherwise.

But I'm glad they're taking a second look at the issue. Safety should come first, not profits, power, saving face, or anything else. Especially when it's children's health at stake.

Knight in Dragonland said...

My question about bisphenol A is this ... is it just a marker for poor nutrition and poverty? The poor and those who eat more processed, canned foods will have higher levels of BPA. Poor nutrition and poverty have clear links to obesity and increased risks of all sorts of diseases. Childhood obesity is also clearly linked to earlier onset of secondary sexual characteristics and puberty.

On the other hand, there is in vitro lab data that indicate that BPA can have endocrine disrupting effects, and that evidence must be taken into account.

Maria said...

While I can see the point of Knight's question ("is it just a marker for poor nutrition and poverty?"), I think we need to look beyond those indicators, because working mothers are using bottles with breast milk (supposedly the next best alternative to nursing directly), so their sub-group would also end up a potential marker. Personally, I think cumulative impacts must be addressed.

Anonymous said...

This is still an unsettled question? Gosh, I was reading about this when my daughter was a baby. Folks, she is in college today! But even though the question is not settled, for at least some of us the answer is easy. Just don't let any of the potentially problem items near your child's mouth. My daughter got minimal bottles of breastmilk. My son never got any sort of bottle or pacifier. So regardless of what the research finally shows, I feel good knowing that my kids were not exposed. This is a more do-able option than most people think. If I could do it, I think many others could, too.

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