February 24, 2009
At today’s Science Board Hearing convened by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on bisphenol A (BPA), the FDA tacitly acknowledged the serious health concerns regarding BPA, but continued to defend their position that no public health safeguards should be implemented at this time.
“Consumers Union is glad that FDA will be conducting more studies, however it’s clear the agency is still trying to determine if exposure limits are appropriate,” said Dr. Urvashi Rangan, Senior Scientist and Policy Analyst, Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports. “Given the currently existing body of scientific knowledge about the health risks of BPA to consumers, we ask that the FDA act immediately to protect high risk populations, such as children and babies, while it gathers more data.”
Consumers Union also urged FDA to make public all testing information and encouraged the agency to do more bio-monitoring of blood levels of BPA in people. A study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has shown that 93% of Americans excrete some BPA in their urine. Consumers Union again calls on FDA to ban BPA materials in infant and children’s products and food containers, as FDA already has enough scientific data to support such a decision.
In August 2008, the federal agency said BPA was safe for humans. But the agency only considered studies that had been financed by the plastics industry.
BPA—a chemical found in the linings of cans and in many plastic products, including sports bottles, food-storage containers and baby bottles—has potential links to a wide range of health effects. BPA has been linked to a variety of diseases including an increased risk of diseases or disorders of the brain, reproductive, and immune systems; recent studies have linked BPA exposure to problems with liver function testing, an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease, and interruptions in chemotherapy treatment; and BPA exposure has long been linked to hormonal disturbances. New studies also show that BPA seems to stay in the body longer than previously believed.
In 2008, the Canadian government banned its use in baby bottles, a position that today the Board said was out of an abundance of a caution.
CU was one of the first organizations to test and report on consumer products with BPA, and warned consumers about the potential risks almost a decade ago. Since CU’s first study, more than a hundred studies have been published showing a wide range of adverse effects in animals at low doses of BPA, doses that approximate current levels circulating in the human population. CU recently tested “BPA-free” claims on bottles and has also published advice on how consumers can reduce their exposure to BPA. For more information, please visit the food section of greenerchoices.org.
Dr. Urvashi Rangan, 646.594.0212
Naomi Starkman, 917.539.3924