Sunday November 2, 2008 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new study
released in October suggests that maternal exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) could
eliminate or decrease the sex difference in certain behavioral responses. The
study adds to a growing evidence to suggest that exposure to BPA affects
behaviors or the brain among others.
Those who have paid close attention to the safety of BPA
may have noticed that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Toxicology
Program (NTP) have different views on the safety of the plastic chemical.
The NTP says in its comprehensive review that "The
some concern for effects on
the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at
current human exposures to bisphenol A."
The FDA claimed in August however that bisphenol A poses
no risk based on evidence currently available and suggested more research is
needed to prove or disprove the notion that BPA is toxic.
A FDA subcommittee of Science Board said Wednesday that
the agency's review on the chemical widely used in baby bottles and other
plastic containers for food and beverages was
inadequate or flawed.
On Friday the FDA Science Board convened to review the subcommittee’s
report and concluded that the agency
wrong when it said in August that BPA poses no health risks at current
In response to the panel's conclusion, Andrew von
Eschenbach, FDA commissioner, was cited by theDow Jonesnews service as saying
"Let me be clear: There's no shame for having" your hypothesis
The problem with the FDA opinion released in August is
that the agency opted not to consider the studies that found harmful health effects
The agency's review was largely
based a few industry-sponsored studies that found no risk associated with the
exposure to the chemical.
The chemical industry defended the FDA's opinion.
Steven G. Hentges, of the American Chemistry Council's
Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group, was quoted as saying at Friday's hearing that
the FDA's August draft assessment is "consistent with the conclusions of
other scientific and government bodies worldwide, such as the European Food
Safety Authority, Health Canada, the European Union, and NSF International, all
of which completed or updated their assessments this year. We rely on their
conclusions, which are that polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins are safe for
use in food contact applications."
What he did not mention is that Canada has decided to ban
plastic baby bottles containing BPA and several U.S. states are considering legislation
to limit use of BPA in food packaging.
FDA had its own explanation about the Canadian ban in a statement released
The FDA said that Canadian regulators acted "out of
an abundance of caution" and "Health Canada's assessment of bisphenol
A on newborns and infants up to 18 months of age concludes that exposure levels
are below the levels that could cause health effects."
Regardless of how the government says about the safety of
BPA, evidence has been building up to indicate that BPA is harmful.
Just in October this year, an Italian study published in
Environmental Research showed
that maternal exposure to BPA decreased or eliminated the sex difference in
certain behavioral responses.
The study authors Palanza P. and colleagues from the
University of Parma also found "exposure of female mice to BPA in both
adulthood or during fetal life altered subsequent maternal behavior."
In response to the conclusion of the FDA Science Board
that the FDA’s opinion on the BPA safety is flawed, Norris Alderson, associate
commissioner for science at the FDA was cited as telling DowJones that the
agency may start its own research early in 2009 to determine the toxicity of
BPA on babies less than 1 month old.
It is unknown when such studies could be completed and it
remains also unknown how the FDA would respond to the growing evidence to suggest
that BPA poses a risk to young children.
Those who are concerned about the effect of BPA may
consider eliminating or limiting their use of plastic water bottles and canned
foods, a health observer suggested.
estrogenic chemical is widely used in production of polycarbonate plastic, the
nice and transparent type used to bottle water and epoxy resins lining food and
beverage cans and in dental sealants, according to the NTP.
BPA has already been linked to increased risk of diseases
or disorders in the brain, reproductive system and immune systems.
A number of major diseases like heart disease
and diabetes have been associated with BPA exposure.
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