Scientists criticise US FDA’s BPA study

14 October 2009 17:04  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--A group of scientists, including a member of a government advisory board, have sent a letter to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) criticising the way it studies bisphenol A (BPA), sources said on Wednesday.

Scientific studies, including one published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, have linked BPA to everything from cancer to aggressive behaviour in children. The chemical is a key building block for polycarbonate (PC) and epoxy resins.

In a letter to the FDA, the group of more than 30 scientists said the agency’s standard test methodology would not work for its study on how BPA affects human health. Among the scientists' complaints is that the FDA is using a type of test rat that is naturally insensitive to low levels of BPA.   

“We’re worried about a continued use of guidelines significantly flawed in design,” said Thomas Zoeller, professor and chairman of the biology department at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and the letter’s lead writer. “We need to discuss the role of modern methodology for risk assessment.”

Zoeller is also a scientific advisor to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Scientists and other critics - including members of the agency’s own science board - have accused the FDA of dragging its feet in issuing an updated assessment on BPA safety and being overly partial to industry-led studies in its own research.

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) has called BPA health concerns overblown and said more research is needed on its potential health effects.

A review the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel newspaper conducted in 2007 found that 80% of independent BPA health studies found the chemical to be harmful, while none of the industry-funded reports did.

Such companies as Wal-Mart have stripped their shelves of certain products containing BPA. Canada banned baby products containing BPA, as have the governments of Minnesota and Chicago.

Californian lawmakers have twice tried to ban BPA, but the state Assembly voted against the legislation both times.    

Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives in Green Chemistry
For more information on BPA, visit ICIS chemical intelligence
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By: Ben Lefebvre
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