Boy, it's two steps forward and one step back. We just celebrated the ban of phthalates and lead a few days ago, only to turn around and find the FDA upholding the use of BPA in children's products. It's depressing to see the FDA failing to protect us again.
The folks at Green to Grow sent an alert to their retailers aprising us of the shocking news. They summarized clealry what the issue really is:
Just days before the California legislature will be considering passing a ban on the toxic chemical BPA in some children's products, the FDA has announced BPA is safe for human consumption. Although there are over 100 published reports by government scientists and independent research labs documenting the risks of BPA (particularly for infants and
children), the FDA has relied solely on two chemical-industry funded studies that concluded BPA poses no risk to human health. At this point I would say it is entirely clear the FDA is more committed to protecting the interests of industry rather than ensuring the safety of
Green to Grow also referred to an article published by the Washington Post “Studies on Chemicals in Plastics Questioned: Congress Examines Role of Industry in Regulation.”
The author, Lyndsay Layton, details the inner process leading to the FDA's recent decision on BPA:As evidence mounts about the risks of using BPA in baby bottles and other products, some experts and industry critics contend that chemical manufacturers have exerted influence over federal regulators to keep a possibly unsafe product on the market.
Congressional Democrats have begun investigating any industry influence in regulating BPA.
“Tobacco figured this out, and essentially it's the same model,” said David Michaels, who was a federal regulator in the Clinton administration. “If you fight the science, you're able to postpone regulation and victim compensation, as well. As in this case, eventually the science becomes overwhelming. But if you can get five or 10 years of avoiding pollution control or production of chemicals, you've greatly increased your product.”
Another trusted non-profit organization, Healthy Child Healthy World (HCHW), has also issued a press release discussing the FDA's decision to bow to the chemical industry's influence. Dr. Jennifer Sass, a scientist with the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), adds her insight to the PR release:
The chemical industry’s efforts to hide or misrepresent the hazards of their product have been so over the top that even Congress has felt the need to intervene. Congress is now scrutinizing the communications between the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and a PR firm called the Weinberg Group whose clients have included the alcohol and tobacco industries.
Christopher Gavigan, CEO of HCHW, discussed the heated subject in a recent blog post:
Our community of scientists, physicians, and children's health advocates is rightly upset today. The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) announcement that bisphenol A – the hormone disrupting chemical found in numerous consumer products including can linings and baby bottle – is “safe.”
There is no doubt, that in numerous independent laboratory studies, the pervasive chemical has been linked to obesity, developmental problems, diabetes, risk for heart attack, and several types of cancers
including breast and prostate cancer. The big question is when will be able to depend on our government to err on the side of caution when it comes to human health?
We need to make a noisy impression on the FDA and the plastics industry. Continue to speak out through our parenting forums, blogs and buying habits. And don't forget to support the tireless non-profit organizations working behind the scenes on our behalf.
URGENT UPDATE: The Environmental Working Group (EWG) just contacted us and asked us to notify California residents of the following development:
The Chemical Industry is Attacking California Families' Safety — Don't Let Them Win
California's landmark bill, SB 1713, would ban bisphenol A from baby
bottles and sippy cups, and it could be up for a vote as early as this
The BPA bill is in trouble. The well-funded chemical industry has been
calling California households, advertising in newspapers, and lobbying
legislators with misinformation about what the bill aims to do. We've
sent out a number of action alerts to our 38,000 person California
list, but the chemical industry has more manpower at this point. And
it's starting to get the legislators. Yesterday, the staff for one
supposedly progressive lawmaker told Sonya Lunder, one of our
analysts, that he didn't plan to vote because he would rather just
wait for federal reform.
EWG has posted an action page for California residents on their website here.