BPA study comments section leads to a look at the academically-based health industry

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bpaYesterday in Dispatch we wrote about a study asserting a causal relationship between drinking soy milk from a can lined with a BPA-containing polymer, and a 4.5 mm rise in systolic blood pressure (SBP). Of course, we pointed out the fact that study was rife with confounding and confusing fudge factors. Furthermore, no one commenting on this study in the public arena seems to recall that every scientific body in the world, including our FDA and even the EPA, has deemed BPA safe in consumer products, including food packaging.

ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross submitted this comment on the New York Times website in response to this study:

Gil Ross MD American Council on Science and Health NYC:

Mr. O'Connor, it's thankfully rare to see you go so bonkers over one extremely small and sort-of controlled study. Sixty people? Soy milk, loaded with estrogenic substances is the "control?" Four-and-a-half mm increase? But then you refer to BPA as an "endocrine disruptor," when the Teegarden study under the auspices of the FDA and the EPA found NO estrogenic activity--yes, that means it's not an 'endocrine disruptor' whatever that is--for real-world exposures of BPA. Oh, and its industry shills of the ACC who say "BPA is safe"? But...what about that same FDA, among ALL the world's science-based regulatory and risk-assessment bodies, who have ALSO pronounced BPA safe in food? (Yes, I know about the precautionary bans on infants/toddlers food packaging--that means "consumer concern," not science-based). I'm sad to see you, Mr. O'C, go the way of the chemophobic activists all of a sudden. Gil Ross MD/ACSH

Then the conversation strayed from a debate about the science as another reader questioned our conflicts of interest. Dr. Ross replied, as we always do, that we have no "ties" to the chemical industry. All our opinions and publications are evidence-based, and all funding is no-strings-attached.

This comment was in response to his answer:

ERP Bellows Fals, VT

Scientists opposed to chemicals are also part of an industry. As academics, their careers depend on publication, and woe betide a scientist who bucks the consensus (and there almost always is one).

So they are hardly "unbiased". The difference between those in the academically-based health industry and commercially based ones is that their research is almost always taxpayer funded and we therefore have no choice about supporting their biases.