Is there anything these days that doesn t get politicized? It would seem not, since the chemical BPA is the latest culprit
An op-ed by Merrill Matthews in Investors.com, the online blog of Investors Business Daily would seem to say no. The piece entitled Left Wants EPA To Ban Chemical FDA Says Isn't Harmful describes how a common and harmless chemical bisphenol A, aka BPA has turned into a political rallying point for groups that have nothing better to do than to try to ban it. They may be misguided, but at least you have to give them points for determination.
BPA, which has been in use for 60 years is one of the two chemicals used to make polycarbonate plastics, which are ubiquitous in the modern world. It also has some niche uses, for example, giving cash register receipts the colored print. We are all exposed to it. But does that matter?
If your life mission is to get rid of BPA, then you have a tough job. The FDA has said that it presents no health hazards. And, according to Matthews, The European Food Safety Agency has also undertaken a close examination of the claims that BPA is harmful and has found no evidence to support them.
Matthews says, Having lost on the merits of their case, BPA opponents are deriding the agency's research and approval process for being too lenient. That's rich, given that the FDA is one of the most risk-averse federal agencies.
The major flaw in BPA toxicity studies is that they are based on the concentration in the urine, notes ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom. Anyone who has done drug discovery research knows why this is essentially a meaningless number. He explains, There is a class of organic chemicals called phenols, and they are notorious troublemakers as drug candidates. Why? Because most of them are very quickly metabolised and excreted in the urine. This property, which makes phenol-containing drugs a major pain, is paradoxically what makes BPA safe. Good luck measuring it in the blood, which might mean something If you re able to find it at all. The presence of BPA in urine sounds scary, but it is a red herring, You might as well measure the amount in your shoe.
This is mirrored by Matthews: The [FDA] has concluded that the level of BPA from food that could be passed from pregnant mothers to the fetus is so low that it could not be measured. Moreover, exposure to BPA in human infants is from 84% to 92% less than previously estimated."
So, having struck out with the FDA and EFSA, why not try another agency? So now anti-BPA groups are trying to get the EPA to ban the chemical. Will they succeed? Who knows? But they will never run out of agencies ending in the letter A.
Dr. Bloom thinks that politicization of this is supremely silly: Last I checked, both Republicans and Democrats have livers the organ that disposes of BPA. Nor am I aware of the political affiliation of other body parts.