Another organic chemist weighs in on BPA

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Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 12.32.26 PMRegular Dispatch readers will know that we have discussed BPA perhaps the poster child of the anti chemical movement until we are blue in the face (BTF?).

So, it is always nice to know that there are others out there who really understand this topic and agree with us scientifically.

One of these is Steve Hentges, Ph.D., who currently holds the position of Executive Director of the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group of the American Chemistry Council (ACC). Dr. Hentges is a highly trained organic chemist whose advanced degree is from Stanford a university with a first rate chemistry department. He has been studying BPA for more than 13 years, and really knows what he is talking about.

As is ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom, Dr. Hentges is also a featured writer for the massive Science 2.0 site, where he frequently discusses the non-issue of BPA.

His latest piece, Meet BPA-Free, The New BPA examines the silliness that has overwhelmed the real science about BPA one of the ingredients that is used to make polycarbonate plastics (FYI the A comes from acetone one of the two chemicals used to make BPA).

BPA was first synthesized in 1891, and plastics derived from it have been in commercial use for almost 60 years. Among other functions, BPA-based plastics are used as liners of metal cans. This keeps the contents of the can airtight and reduces the possibility of spoilage should air penetrate the can. It makes canned food safer.

In his latest piece, Hentges examines the silliness (and possible increased risk) of replacing BPA for no good reason with other plastic-forming chemicals that are similar to BPA.

He says, In spite of continued safety assurances from government agencies, BPA is no longer used in a few markets. For example, it s well known that baby bottles and most sports bottles are no longer made from polycarbonate plastic. But with controversy about the safety of BPA now in decline, the BPA-Free alternatives are coming under attack from some of the same players who previously had targeted BPA.

We at ACSH have been asking this question for years: If BPA is replaced with another chemical in most cases one called BPS that is far less studied, how will we know if the newer chemical has more, less, or the same risk?

Dr. Hentges addresses just that: As scientists and government agencies turn their attention to BPA-Free alternatives, environmental activists and the media will not be far behind. With headlines like The Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Plastics and BPA-Free Plastic Containers May Be Just as Hazardous, the media barrage may be just beginning. For a while, it may have seemed that BPA-Free product labels would be a good selling point, but now the labels may become a target.

Dr. Bloom, who has also written frequently about BPA thinks that this is no accident. He says, Perhaps I m being a little paranoid, but this entire non-issue smells like a cottage industry, which is designed to be self-perpetuating. Certain environmental groups and academics have built much of their careers and funding structure on studying this single chemical. For them, the good news is that after BPA and BPS, there are still 24 letters in the alphabet, so I m thinking that job security is pretty decent here.

You can read Dr. Hentges insightful piece in its entirety here.