Congressional Panel Wants New Review of BPA Safety

June 9, 2009

As we have reported earlier in Pulse of Health Freedom, chemicals in the packaging, surfaces or contents of many products may cause long-term health effects, including cancers of the breast, brain and testicles; lowered sperm counts, early puberty and other reproductive system defects; diabetes; attention deficit disorder, asthma and autism. A decade ago, the government promised to test these chemicals. It still hasn’t.


According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, a congressional committee is investigating whether the FDA gave undue influence to chemical makers. The newspaper revealed how government regulators relied heavily on industry lobbyists when considering the safety of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), and broke the news that lobbyists met last week at an exclusive club in Washington to hammer out a public relations strategy to sell the benefits of BPA to the American public, including “befriending people that are able to manipulate the legislative process.”
Henry Waxman (D-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Bart Stupak (D-MI), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, wrote FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg last week, asking the agency to examine its relationship with industry groups. “These new press accounts raise serious questions about the extent to which FDA relied on industry for independent scientific advice,” Waxman and Stupak wrote. In one instance, an FDA official sought information from the chemical lobby to discredit a study that found the chemical caused miscarriages, even before FDA scientists had a chance to scrutinize the study.

The congressional panel also wants the FDA to reconsider its assessment that the chemical is safe. FDA spokesman Michael Herndon said Tuesday that the agency is expected to release a new decision on the chemical within “weeks, not months.” BPA, found in the urine of 93% of Americans tested, has been linked to heart disease, cancers of the breast and prostate, heart disease and hyperactivity. Used to make hard, clear plastic, it leaches into food.
News of the BPA industry’s lobbying efforts to manipulate the legislative process drew a sharp response from Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), who introduced a bill in the House last March to ban BPA in all food and drink packaging.
“Instead of spending money to manipulate the legislative process through fear tactics or slick PR campaigns, I suggest these companies ramp up their research and development, ensuring that only safe alternatives to this dangerous substance are used in food and beverage containers,” Markey said. “No matter how they package it, BPA is a toxic substance linked to cancer and heart disease.”

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