The Milwaukee Sentinel-Journal released a special report today saying that the FDA's draft supporting BPA's safety was prepared primarily by major stakeholders in keeping BPA on the market. Stephen Hentges, executive director of the American Chemistry Council's group on BPA, was involved in downplaying the dangers of the chemical.
The FDA's draft, released in August, found no cause for worry about bisphenol A, which is found in thousands of household products, including baby bottles, infant formula containers and the lining of aluminum cans.
That finding is at odds with the conclusions of the FDA's own advisers from the National Toxicology Program. The NTP announced in September that the chemical is of some concern for effects on the development of the prostate gland and brain, and for behavioral effects in fetuses, infants and children. The NTP also found some concern for the neurodevelopment of young children, infants and fetuses.
A congressional committee is now investigating the August report, and the FDA's links to the plastics industry. The FDA draft is being investigated by a congressional subcommittee, which will decide if amendments are in order. That assessment is due to be presented on October 31st in Washington.
As the debate continues to rage here in the U.S., Canada is making history by becoming the first country in the world to officially declare BPA a hazard. And while they're busy implementing an official ban of BPA in children's products, we're busy investigating a $5 million donation received by Martin Philbert, chairman of the FDA panel investigating BPA. The donation was given by Charles Gelman, the retired head of Gelman Sciences, a medical device manufacturing company which used BPA in its products, to the university Risk Science Center which Philbert directs.
I'm just glad these blatant conflicts of interest are finally coming to light. And the good news is that not everyone with influence in the U.S. is sitting idly by:
- The attorneys general of Connecticut, New Jersey and Delaware sent letters to 11 companies urging them to stop using BPA in baby bottles and baby formula containers The letters were sent to baby bottle manufacturers Avent, Disney First Years, Gerber, Dr. Brown, Playtex and Evenflo; and formula makers Abbott, Mead Johnson, PBM Products, Nature's One and Wyeth.
- The Natural Resources Defense Council petitioned the FDA to ban BPA in food packaging.
- The Environmental Working Group continues to conduct testing on BPA in baby formula in order to help parents make informed decisions.
- Healthy Child Healthy World never fails to pump out the most current information on toxic plastics with the help of experts like Dr. Alan Greene.