We must take issue with the letter from Massachusetts State Rep. John Keenan (D-Salem) in which he describes as "solid" the scientific research backing the connection between certain chemicals in toys and harm to human health (C&EN, May 7, page 11). His conclusion stands in stark contrast to those of independent scientific reviews of bisphenol A, one of the chemicals to which he refers, conducted by national and international organizations. None of these reviews has found scientific grounds for restricting bisphenol A in any products, including children's products.
In January, the European Food Safety Agency, following a review by 21 independent European scientists, raised its Tolerable Daily Intake for bisphenol A, concluding that "low-dose effects of [bisphenol A] in rodents have not been demonstrated in a robust and reproducible way." Their analysis considered all dietary exposure sources—including canned food, bottled beverages, and formula feeding of infants in polycarbonate bottles. Indeed, measured human exposures to bisphenol A are exceedingly small, thousands to millions of times smaller than those capable of causing reproducible effects on health.
Keenan states that his Massachusetts bill is modeled on California's A.B. 1108, but California legislators recently removed bisphenol A from that bill in recognition of the consistent rejection of allegations of low-dose health risks in scientific reviews by public health protection agencies in the U.S., Europe, and Japan.
As residents of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, we are glad that Keenan and his legislative colleagues consider public health protection a priority. As scientists who have published on bisphenol A low-dose toxicology and as participants in expert panels on this chemical, we concur with government reviews that find no scientific basis to restrict current uses of bisphenol A in consumer products.