Dispatch: Hypothetical, Preemptive Alarmism

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Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s proposal to ban BPA from baby bottles and plastic sippy cups was met with doubt from a member of the state Public Health Council, which would have to approve the prohibition. Dr. Alan Woodward told The Boston Globe, “My concern is that we may find out five to 10 years down the line that compounds in the replacement are more toxic.”

“This is the first time I’ve heard any sort of acknowledgment of the fact that replacements for BPA could end up causing harm,” says Dr. Whelan. “Any replacement wouldn’t have the 50-year safety record that BPA has.”

Stier is skeptical: “While we’re happy that he raised the issue of unintended consequences of replacing BPA, it is almost certain that the ‘dangers’ of any replacement chemical would also be based on animal studies and low-dose theory. There is no reason to believe that any replacements would automatically be harmful.”

“It is comforting to some extent to hear this expert panel member express concern,” says Dr. Ross. “We would be happier if he had also acknowledged the fact that there’s no evidence that BPA is harmful in the first place.”