Despite criticism from health advocates and its own science advisory board, the Food and Drug Administration announced last week that it is not changing its decision that bisphenol A (BPA) is safe in trace amounts. The organization did reveal, however, that it will study the cumulative effects of BPA in humans, though it gave no timetable for such findings.
The non-change, released in a letter from the organization, comes in response to the November conclusion by its science board (comprised of outside experts) that the FDA’s original finding was flawed. The board said the FDA erroneously relied solely on industry-funded data and studies that didn’t evaluate newborns, for example. The board also said the FDA was neglecting the cumulative effect of BPA exposures from multiple sources, something which the FDA is addressing with its recent announcement.
BPA, commonly found in reusable plastic water bottles, baby bottles and the linings of metal cans, has come under repeated attacks by new studies and health groups linking it to diseases and development problems in humans. Recently, president-elect Barack Obama met with a coalition of health advocates who are pushing for a ban of BPA. Many of those same advocates are displeased with the FDA’s latest decision. “More years of research by the FDA to determine what thousands of scientists worldwide already know about the toxic chemical is a waste of time, taxpayer dollars, and will place millions of babies yet to be born at risk,” said Alex Formuzis, a spokesman for the Environmental Working Group, to the Washington Post.