Likely FDA Appointees Will Face Scaremongers

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New York, NY -- March 13, 2009. Scientists and physicians at the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) call for the reform of a broken regulatory system -- one that now tries to appease advocates of junk science who pressure the Food and Drug Administration.

These advocates routinely demand that the FDA take unnecessary -- and possibly heath-threatening -- action against alleged environmental risks that have little or no scientific basis. The agency's time is thus wasted chasing phantom risks instead of dealing with real ones, thus indirectly imperiling Americans' health.

Non-risks that (non-science-based) environmental advocates will likely bring to the attention of new senior FDA staff include: bisphenol A in baby bottles, lead in lipstick, formaldehyde in baby shampoo, and pesticide residues in imported foods. These are just a few examples.

Putting these alleged risks in scientific perspective will be one of the most important challenges facing likely FDA Commissioner nominee Dr. Margaret Hamburg and intended Deputy Administrator Dr. Joshua Sharfstein:

¢"It's high time, for example, for FDA to take aggressive action to assure people of the safety of bisphenol A in baby bottles, infant formula, and other products that infants and young children come in contact with on a daily basis," stated Dr. Elizabeth Whelan, President and Founder of the American Council on Science and Health. "These products are safe -- and FDA officers should give assurance to consumers -- in spite of the constant attacks by environmental activist groups."

"The mere fact that we can detect trace levels of BPA in plastic bottles or lead in lipstick does not mean a health hazard exists. Indeed, with today's sophisticated chemistry, you can find anything in anything at miniscule levels," stated Dr. Gilbert Ross, Medical Director of ACSH.

¢Dr. Whelan noted that although groups including "Health Care Without Harm" have had a petition before the FDA for over two years, asking the agency to require labeling of medical devices containing diethyl hexyl phthalate (DEHP), an ACSH blue ribbon panel chaired by former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop concluded that phthalates as used in medical devices and other products pose no health risk. "Banning these flexible plastic medical devices would set back medicine fifty years," Dr. Whelan noted.

ACSH scientific advocates are hopeful that Hamburg and Sharfstein will address the myth that dangerous chemicals have been allowed on the market. There is no evidence whatsoever that trace amounts of chemicals are linked to the very real health problems the FDA must consider, such as obesity, diabetes, cancer, and reproductive and neurodevelopmental health problems.