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Children's Health

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Panel Weighs Bisphenol A Report

Advisory Panel Mostly Agrees With Government's Draft Brief, but Recommends Key Changes

Board's Chairwoman Comments continued...

"I don't know that it was a downgrading. I think it's just a difference in the choice of language," says McCarver, noting that the board chose language more in line with the earlier expert panel report because the evidence available was less strong on mammary and female puberty effects than on prostate effects.

"It's important that you don't think of 'minimal' as meaning 'none,'" she says. "There are a lot of factors that go into that consideration."

Asked what she would tell people with concerns about bisphenol A, McCarver says she thinks there are "reasons for concern, but there's also a lot of uncertainty in terms of the level of concern."

"Different people respond to concern differently," says McCarver. "There are always things you can do to minimize risk. If you're a mother of a young infant, you can use glass containers. You can choose to use less canned food in your house -- commonsense approaches.

"We do have some concerns with this compound, but we also recognize that if we eliminate the compound and bring in other compounds, we may have other problems," says McCarver, adding that "there are some important plastic compounds that protect children.

"I'm not a regulator and this is not a regulatory statement," says McCarver. "The people who will be making the regulatory decisions have a lot to consider."

Public Comments on BPA Report

The advisory panel also reviewed public comments on the NTP's draft report.

Those comments, posted on the NTP's web site, range from private citizens outraged that bisphenol A hasn't been banned, to scientists debating the choice of research covered in the report, to industry groups arguing that the research in the report is flawed and doesn't translate to human risk, to environmental groups and scientists expressing even more concern than the report.

The public comments also include a letter from the American Academy of Pediatrics that expresses "deep concern" that scientific evidence is "largely insufficient to draw accurate conclusions on the safety of exposure to BPA, particularly with respect to vulnerable populations including pregnant women, infants, and children."

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