December 15, 2008
Consumers Union (CU) today called on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) to ban BPA materials in infant and children’s products, as FDA already has enough scientific data to support such a decision. CU said that FDA’s decision today to re-evaluate its research on bisphenol A (BPA) and carry out additional studies is a step forward, but FDA has an obligation to act immediately to protect high risk populations while it gathers more data.
FDA’s decision on BPA came in a letter to independent reviewers. The reviewers report in October found deep flaws in FDA’s conclusion that the chemical used in food packaging is safe.
“FDA should prevent consumers from ingesting BPA from food and beverage containers, and at the very least, ban those materials in infant and children’s products. They should also take action to find safer substitutes. Consumers should not have to be the guinea pigs while compelling scientific evidence continues to mount,” said Dr. Urvashi Rangan, Senior Scientist and Policy Analyst, Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports.
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. Cellular, animals and some human studies have shown BPA effects on the brain, prostate, normal hormonal systems, gene programming which can lead to several problems with reproduction, behavior, insulin resistance and even cancer. The Canadian governmentt banned its use in baby bottles.
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. 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. 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.
The FDA said in a report that BPA is safe at current levels found in food products and containers. The FDA report contradicts a report released in early September from the National Toxicology Program (NTP), which is part of the National Institutes of Health, and which held that there is some concern that low-doses of BPA may affect brain, behavioral and prostate development. An FDA panel of outside medical experts in October agreed, saying those studies deserve more attention.
Dr. Urvashi Rangan, 646.594.0212