More science over feelings: BPA is safe. Can we now find something real to worry about?

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The 9/11 cancer report is not the only sound-science publication whose results have been met with knee-jerk dismissal. Another landmark federal study described by renowned endocrinologist Dr. Richard Sharpe as majestically scientific has found that the actual human exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), even from a BPA-rich diet, is exceedingly small.

BPA is a chemical found in a variety of food containers and plastics. Published in the journal Toxicological Studies, the study was led by Dr. Justin Teeguarden and colleagues from the CDC and the FDA, and fully funded by the EPA. The researchers monitored nearly 130 volunteers who were given a diet high in BPA for 24 hours; frequent blood and urine samples were taken throughout the study period to determine whether the bioactive form of BPA reaches humans internal tissues. Contrary to prevalent but baseless fears of endocrine disruption and similar misconceptions so often broadcast by chemophobic activists and their friends in the media, Dr. Teeguarden s results show that blood concentrations of BPA throughout the day are below our ability to detect them, and orders of magnitude lower than those causing effects in rodents exposed to BPA. The findings are consistent with the observations seen in the BPA investigations by the European Food Safety Authority and European Food and Drug Administration, among many other scientific agencies worldwide.

ACSH's Dr. Josh Bloom explains the findings: "BPA is rapidly metabolized to an inactive compound called a glucuronide. This metabolite is very water soluble and rapidly excreted in the urine. So, even if large amounts of BPA were to leach from BPA-containing plastics (which it doesn t), there would still be very little or no accumulation of BPA in the body."

Predictably but still disappointingly despite the solid findings of this well-designed study, the EPA has decided to initiate the drafting of new BPA rules, announcing that it would take public comments on BPA safety and environmental exposure. "A number of concerns have been raised about the potential human health and environmental effects of BPA, announced Steve Owens, Assistant Administrator for the EPA s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. He added, The data collected under the testing EPA is considering would help EPA better understand and address the potential environmental impacts of BPA.

This announcement flies in the face of the science, says ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross. It s like the EPA is saying Science? What science? Oh, all that stuff about BPA being a non-threat? Pshaw! There is already plenty of evidence, he notes, along with 50 years of use without any discernable health-related problems reasonably attributable to BPA that supports the safety of BPA at the levels present in consumer products.