Panel Criticizes FDA Bisphenol A Report
Scientists Criticize 'Important Limitations' in FDA Draft Report on Bisphenol A Safety
Oct. 29, 2008 -- The controversy over the plastic chemical bisphenol A is
heating back up, with a panel of scientists criticizing an FDA draft report on
bisphenol A safety.
Bisphenol A, also called BPA, is a chemical found in polycarbonate plastic
-- including some water bottles and baby bottles -- and in the
lining of canned goods.
Some research, mostly done on animals, suggests possible health risks from
bisphenol A exposure, especially early in life. But an FDA draft report says
bisphenol A is safe at typical exposure levels from food and drink.
Now, an independent subcommittee has reviewed the FDA draft report, at the
FDA's request, and has posted these criticisms:
- Some studies were excluded without enough explanation.
- Uncertainty in bisphenol A research wasn't mentioned enough.
- The FDA's margins of safety for bisphenol A are "inadequate."
- More attention should have been paid to infants' exposure to bisphenol
Removing Bisphenol A From Baby Bottles?
The American Chemistry Council, a plastics industry trade group, issued a
statement about the review of the draft report.
In that statement, the council pledges to abide by whatever the FDA decides
about bisphenol A.
"If the [FDA] determines that existing margins of safety are
insufficient in infant applications, our member companies that manufacture BPA
will put processes in place to promptly phase out the use of materials
containing BPA in baby bottles and infant formula packaging," the council
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a nonprofit group that wants
bisphenol A banned in food containers, also issued a statement about the
"The FDA has consistently ignored science and sound policy, putting
corporate interests ahead of public protection ... it's time for the FDA to
protect infants and pregnant women," says NRDC
reproductive biologist Sarah Janssen, MD, PHD.
The scientific panel has raised "important questions," states an FDA
news release. The FDA isn't brushing off those questions and calls for more
Meanwhile, the FDA hasn't changed its standards for bisphenol A safety -- or
its advice to consumers.
"Consumers should know that, based on all available evidence, the
present consensus among regulatory agencies in the United States, Canada,
Europe, and Japan is that current levels of exposure to BPA through food
packaging do not pose an immediate health risk to the general population,
including infants and babies," the FDA states.
Last week, the Canadian government said it would
ban bisphenol A in baby bottles. The FDA points out that that action was
taken "out of an abundance of caution," and that Canadian scientists
haven't found any proof of harm to babies with typical exposure to bisphenol
Here's where the FDA's draft report stands:
- It's already been discussed at a public
- It's gone through peer review -- that's the review by independent
- Next, an FDA advisory committee takes the topic up on Oct. 31.
Those are steps toward the FDA's final report on bisphenol A -- and there is
no deadline for that.