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Policy

Congress questions federal conclusions on bisphenol A

by Britt E. Erickson
March 14, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 11

U.S. lawmakers are questioning why the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) came to a different determination about the health risks of bisphenol A (BPA) than the Food & Drug Administration. BPA is a chemical commonly used in plastics and epoxy ­resins. The safety of its use in food and beverage containers and food can liners has been debated for nearly a decade because of the chemical’s estrogenic properties. Regulatory agencies around the world, including FDA, have concluded that BPA is safe in such applications. NIEHS, however, states on its website that “BPA exposures may have adverse health effects.” In a March 3 letter to ­NIEHS Director Linda S. Birnbaum, members of the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight & Government Reform requested numerous documents. These include all communications related to BPA between NIEHS and FDA since April 2008, all documents related to BPA research funded or denied funding by NIEHS, and all communications between NIEHS and NIEHS-funded BPA research grantees since April 2008. Lawmakers gave NIEHS a deadline of March 17 to provide the information.

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