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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. 2: Cause for Concern continued...

Vogel wasn't immediately available to comment on the FDA's draft report. The nonprofit Environmental Working Group -- which Vogel doesn't work for -- issued a news release criticizing the FDA's draft report. "We have long since lost faith in FDA's ability to be an impartial authority on FDA's safety. Time and again, FDA has sided with special interests instead of the public interest on this chemical," Renee Sharp, a senior analyst with the Environmental Working Group, says in the news release.

Almost 93% of Americans have detectable levels of bisphenol A in their urine, Vogel observes, citing CDC data on urine samples provided by some 2,500 Americans aged 6 and older for a national health survey in 2003-2004.

Those CDC figures don't connect bisphenol A to health effects. But the data, along with bisphenol A research on animals, "doesn't make me feel great," Vogel says. She'd like to see stricter safety standards and more research in people, as long as research doesn't become a stalling tactic. "If it's a way to delay any decision on BPA, it's really frustrating," says Vogel.

Hentges counters that "with bisphenol A, we already know so much about it ... it's not likely that anyone's going to do an experiment tomorrow that will render everything that we know today wrong."

View No. 3: The Precautionary Approach

Canadian health officials took what they called a "prudent" approach in April, when they proposed banning bisphenol A in baby bottles, although their risk assessment didn't find proof of danger.

"Canada really took the lead and said this is what the precautionary principle looks like," says Vogel. "It will be interesting to see how it plays out."

Hentges stresses the fact that the Canadian proposal isn't law yet and isn't based on science. "If you dig into the details of the science, you find that they're really quite similar -- Canada, NTP... Europe. None of them found those studies to be really compelling, none found them to be really suitable for making any kind of real conclusion."

Meanwhile, Vogel says the bisphenol A issue goes beyond baby bottles and water bottles. She's concerned about bisphenol A in the environment, workers who handle bisphenol A, and the government's chemical safety standards and risk assessment process.

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