AMA s new public safety policies: Neither medicine nor science

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The Annual Meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) has resulted in the Association s adoption of a bevy of new public safety policies that have little (or nothing) to do with the actual safety of the public. Among the Association s new policies are its official stance against bisphenol A (BPA) and their support of the Environmental Protection Agency s (EPA) national mercury emissions standards for cement plants. ACHS's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan observes that the AMA has a very poor record of being on target, even when it sticks to health and medical issues. ACSH s Jody Manley, upon reading the news, wonders why the AMA hasn t chosen to address such real public health concerns as obesity and cigarette-related disease and death especially since the percentage of smokers in the U.S. has halted its decades-long decline, which persists at about 20 percent.

The AMA s newly adopted policy on BPA is aligned with the beliefs of most others who have taken up arms against the chemical compound. The chemical prevents the contents of tin cans from spoiling and has been used in the manufacture of baby bottles since the mid-twentieth century. Observing the Association s misinformed stance, ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross noted two especially prominent inaccuracies in their statement: first, the assertion that BPA is an endocrine disrupting agent, and second, their claim that the FDA has taken interim actions to ban the sale of any baby bottles and cups that might contain the compound. Since no adverse health effects from BPA have been observed in humans, I wonder what their definition of endocrine disruptor is? Dr. Ross also scratched his head about the AMA s co-opting of the FDA for their cause, since the FDA has yet to label it a threat to anyone s health; any restrictions on BPA in products have, thus far, occurred exclusively at the state level.

As for the Association s demonstration of support for the EPA s new mercury emissions standards, which some critics see as unnecessarily stringent, Dr. Ross wonders when the AMA got involved in mercury emissions. How about working on greater access to more effective health care? he asks. Or just keeping quiet about issues about which they know even less than usual.