Bisphenol A Assessment Released | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: September 3, 2008

Bisphenol A Assessment Released

Debate over the safety of low-level exposure to the plastics chemical continues
Department: Government & Policy

Current levels of exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used in making polycarbonate plastic bottles and epoxy-based canned food liners, are of "some concern" for developmental and behavioral effects in fetuses, infants, and children, according to a final assessment released on Sept. 3 by the National Toxicology Program. The report comes just weeks after FDA declared in a draft assessment that the estrogenic chemical is safe in food contact products such as baby bottles and infant formula cans (C&EN, Aug. 25, page 10).

NTP's Center for Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction, an interagency federal research program located on the campus of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C., has been evaluating since December 2005 the potential for BPA to cause reproductive and developmental effects in humans. Last April, the group expressed its concerns over the chemical in a draft report, which led to an intense debate and a congressional investigation into the safety of BPA in consumer products (C&EN, June 2, page 36).

The final NTP assessment reaffirms the earlier concerns and points to the need for more research into the safety of BPA. "There remains considerable uncertainty whether the changes seen in the animal studies are directly applicable to humans, and whether they would result in clear adverse health effects," NTP Associate Director John R. Bucher said in a statement. "But we have concluded that the possibility that BPA may affect human development cannot be dismissed."

FDA says it will consider the NTP report as it finalizes its own BPA assessment for regulatory purposes. A public meeting is scheduled for Sept. 16 to discuss FDA's draft assessment.

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