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Reevaluating Bisphenol A

by Britt E. Erickson
June 8, 2009 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 87, Issue 23

Democratic leaders on the House Energy & Commerce Committee are urging FDA to reevaluate the safety of the plastics chemical bisphenol A (BPA), a known endocrine disrupter. In a June 2 letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, Commerce Committee Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) asked FDA to reconsider its position that low levels of BPA are safe in light of recent media reports that detailed the influence of industry lobbyists on FDA's reviews. FDA has long been criticized for relying too heavily on two industry-funded studies to reach its conclusion that current exposures to BPA from food containers are safe. The lawmakers also sent a letter to the North American Metal Packaging Alliance, an industry group, asking for details about a May 28 meeting during which industry representatives reportedly hashed out a public relations campaign to counter public concerns about BPA and stymie efforts to regulate it. Testifying in front of the committee on June 3 at a hearing on food safety, Hamburg said that FDA's acting chief scientist, Jesse Goodman, will be taking the lead on reviewing BPA. FDA expects to make a decision about BPA by late summer or early fall.


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