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Policy

Risks Of Bisphenol A

FDA's draft assessment of the controversial chemical is inadequate, a new report says

by Britt E. Erickson
November 3, 2008 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 86, ISSUE 44

AN FDA DRAFT safety assessment of bisphenol A (BPA) is inadequate according to a report released on Oct. 29 from a subcommittee of the agency's Science Board. The report finds that FDA excluded numerous credible scientific studies and recommends that FDA reassess the risks of the controversial plastics chemical with new methods.

The safety of BPA, a known endocrine disrupter found in polycarbonate plastic bottles and canned food linings, has been at the center of a congressional investigation and media firestorm since concerns about its health effects at low doses came to the forefront in April.

FDA responded to the report with a statement saying that it agrees "additional research would be valuable" and that it "is already moving forward with planned research to address the potential low dose effects of bisphenol A."

Environmental groups and some members of Congress applauded the report. "Unlike FDA, the Science Board had the sense to recognize that the totality of scientific evidence should be evaluated when determining the safety of a potentially hazardous chemical," Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Committee on Energy & Commerce, said in a statement. The American Chemistry Council, an industry group, urged FDA to finalize its BPA assessment promptly and said it "and its member companies will comply with FDA's direction."

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