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    FDA Criticized Over Plastic Chemical

    Groups Raise Questions About the Safety of Bisphenol A

    BPA Critics Urge Caution continued...

    "It is very clear that that the FDA cannot conclude with certainly that BPA is safe. That option is no longer open to you given these new data," said John Peterson Myers, CEO and chief scientist at the group Environmental Health Sciences.

    Some researchers criticized the FDA for concluding that ordinary BPA exposure is safe for infants, who may consume it daily if they are drinking formula from a plastic bottle.

    Frederick vom Saal, a toxicologist at the University of Missouri-Columbia, told an FDA advisory panel that the ability of infants to metabolize BPA has not been well studied.

    "Any talk about what is going on in a newborn baby is just based on a guess, an assumption," he said. "This is a black hole of information."

    FDA officials said they have begun discussion with other scientific agencies, including the CDC, to continue studying potential health effects of the chemical. Members of the advisory panel declined comment following the hearing.

    "We're just beginning," said Laura Tarantino, director of FDA's office of food additive safety. "The agency has made a commitment to look at this, and we're going to look at it carefully," she told reporters.

    "We have not recommended that anyone change their habits or change their use of these products," Tarantino said.

    Some groups recommend people avoid boiling baby bottles to sterilize them because of concerns that the heat releases more BPA. Many bottles are also marketed free of "polycarbonate" plastic, the kind containing BPA.

    Several companies have begun shifting away from its use. Several retailers, including Wal-Mart, Toys 'R' Us, and Babies 'R' Us have backed away from baby bottles containing bisphenol A. Some manufacturers, such as reusable water-bottle maker Nalgene and baby bottle maker Playtex, are ditching bisphenol A in their products.

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