Panel Faults FDA Finding on
Bisphenol-A, or BPA in Polycarbonate Plastics
JARED FAVOLE / Wall Street Journal 29oct2008
WASHINGTON — A panel of science experts challenged the Food and Drug Administration's conclusion that a chemical widely used in plastic food containers is safe, saying the FDA should have paid more attention to studies suggesting the contrary.
FDA Science Board Subcommittee on Bisphenol A:
The FDA in August issued a report saying the chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA, is safe at current levels found in plastic baby bottles and canned foods. The report prompted criticism from lawmakers and scientists because it relied largely on industry-funded studies and contradicted over 100 studies suggesting BPA is harmful to humans.
The FDA asked a panel of scientific experts to review its August report. The panel said in its report it disagrees with the FDA's decision to dismiss many other studies on BPA. "The Subcommittee finds that the draft assessment conclusions are not supported by the available data and science," says the report, viewed by Dow Jones Newswires. It adds that the studies dismissed by the FDA "raise additional and unsettling concern."
FDA spokeswoman Judy Leon said the report raises important question and the agency "agrees that due to the uncertainty raised in some studies relating to the potential effects of low-dose exposure to bisphenol-A, additional research would be valuable." The FDA is already moving ahead with "planned research to address the potential low-dose effects of BPA," she said.
The panel's review is sure to reignite questions about the FDA's handling of BPA. The chemical is used to make plastics hard and is found in everything from baby bottles to sunglasses. Some studies suggest BPA may be associated with problems such as early onset of puberty in women and behavioral problems, while other studies suggest the chemical is safe.