Plastic safety report may be ghostwritten

October 23, 2008 9:13:36 PM PDT
A government saying that bisphenol A, a controversial chemical in plastics was safe came largely from research supplies by the plastics industry.

In a special report, writers for the Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal say the FDA's own documents say most of the work was prepared by major stakeholders in keeping bisphenol A, also called BPA, on the market.

That includes Stephen Hentges, executive director of the American Chemistry Council's group on bisphenol A, who commissioned a review of all studies of the neurotoxicity of bisphenol A and submitted it to the FDA. The FDA then used that report as the foundation for its evaluation of the chemical on neural and behavioral development. The American Chemistry Council is a trade group representing chemical manufacturers.

The FDA's report, which came out in August, said concerns about BPA were unfounded. It is used in baby bottles, water bottles, the linings of infant formula containers, dental sealants, eyeglasses, and inside food cans.

One month later, advisers from the National Toxicology Program - an FDA advisory panel - came to the opposite conclusion - that there is cause for concern on how BPA affects fetuses, infants, and children, as well as how it affects development of the brain and prostate gland.

A congressional committee is now investigating the August report, and the FDA's links to the plastics industry. The agency had been criticized before for using industry figures to make its case for BPA's safety. The FDA has promised to do an independent study on BPA safety, but that has yet to be done.

Bisphenol A has been detected in the urine of 93% of those tested.

Last weekend, the Canadian government officially declared BPA as a toxin, and banned its use in baby bottles and children's products.

Numerous university studies on BPA using lab aninmals showed the potential for serious health effects.

A government committee is currently analyzing the initial FDA report finding no harm. Its report is due out on in Washington next Friday, October 31st.


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