Canada does an about-face on BPA again

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Last week, the Canadian government reaffirmed the safe use of bisphenol A (BPA) in food packaging, upholding its 2008 stance that dietary exposure to the chemical does not pose a health risk to the general population, including newborns and young children.

Although this report is reassuring, Canada is responsible for much of the anti-chemical hysteria surrounding plastics and chemicals today. Despite finding that BPA posed no health risk in 2008, two years later Health Canada s Bureau of Chemical Safety declared BPA to be toxic and banned it from baby bottles, claiming that when heated, the chemical may leach out of plastics at levels harmful to infants.

Canada was the first country in the world to take action against BPA. Yet according to Health Canada, the move was made on a precautionary basis meaning that the move was without scientific basis, but was made politically to calm baseless consumer and activist fears. This set off a global chain reaction with other countries following suit, including the U.S., where the Food and Drug Administration in June banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups (despite making a similar we know of no health threats from BPA-type statement).

The FDA ban of BPA in baby bottles is not based on definitive scientific studies," ACSH trustee Dr. Robert Brent, professor of pediatrics, radiology and pathology at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, told MedPage Today. "The country is bordering on lunacy from the exaggerated fear of chemicals."