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Bisphenol A Safe, Says FDA

FDA Issues Draft Report on Bisphenol A Noting "Adequate Margin of Safety" in Typical Exposure From Food
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View No.1: No Need to Worry

This is the stance that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) took in late July -- and it's in line with today's FDA draft report.

An EFSA panel reviewed bisphenol A research -- mostly done on rodents -- and concluded that bisphenol A passes through the human body much faster than in rodents, with little chance for harm to human fetuses or newborns.

That finding "supports FDA's position that data we have reviewed up until this time support the safety of the currently permitted uses of BPA in food contact material," FDA spokesman Sebastian Cianci told WebMD by email last week, before the draft report was issued. Like the European report, the FDA's draft report argues that studying bisphenol A's effects in rodents may "overestimate" bisphenol A's effects in humans.

The American Chemistry Council, a plastics industry trade group, praises the FDA's conclusion. In a news release, the council says the FDA's draft report "strongly reaffirms" the safety of bisphenol A and calls the draft report "the most up-to-date analysis on the safety of bisphenol A in the world."

Steven Hentges, PhD, of the American Chemistry Council's Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group, told WebMD last week that consumers and companies that ditched bisphenol A made those decisions "very quickly, without having complete and final information."

Hentges says the studies that touched off concern "really aren't very robust." He also sees a "language" issue dating back to the NTP's draft report.

"The NTP language was 'some concern' and people tended to focus on the word 'concern' without realizing or really thinking through that there's a qualifier up front: 'some,'" says Hentges.

View No. 2: Cause for Concern

People with concerns about bisphenol A -- including some scientists studying bisphenol A -- see no proof that bisphenol A is harmless in humans.

Vogel, who will start a fellowship at the nonprofit Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia this fall, favors banning bisphenol A, but she doesn't think that a ban is likely.

Earlier this week, Vogel told WebMD she expected the FDA would, "at a minimum, would decide to reduce the reference dose," which is the acceptable amount of bisphenol A exposure in everyday life. That didn't happen; the FDA's draft report doesn't mention changing the reference dose.

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