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FDA on BPA: We Need More Time to Think

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Environment and Climate Resource Center page and our Appetite For a Change page.
This week was packed with incriminating evidence linking the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A (BPA) to an array of health risks. As we reported last week, a new study found regular, low-dose exposure to BPA might be far more dangerous than previously believed. Meanwhile, a University of Missouri report added to the growing pile of evidence that fetal exposure to the chemical can increase one's likelihood of obesity, while a UK-based nonprofit organization, CHEM Trust, released a report [PDF] that includes BPA with a whole list of chemicals it calls "environmental obesogens" and diabetogens, along with persistent organic pollutants (POPs), arsenic, flame retardants, and phlalates.

As it turns out, this avalanche of bad news about BPA was not a coincidence.  You see, last December, a federal judge ruled that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had been putting off responding to a 2008 petition by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to ban the plastic additive in food packaging for too long, and they had to respond by the end of March. So, in a move that won't surprise anyone who watches the agency regularly, the FDA waited until the last Friday of the month to do so.

According to the Los Angeles Times, FDA's acting associate commissioner for policy and planning said the NRDC "hadn't provided sufficient scientific evidence to change the current regulations." The agency - which claims that it's continuing to study BPA - also said that most science to date has only shown conclusive harm in laboratory animals.


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