Federal Food and Drug Administration, responsible for determining the safety of what Americans put in their bodies, has looked at the dangers of Bisphenol A and concluded that "adequate margin of safety exists for BPA at current levels of exposure from food contact uses." Their study acknowledges that the stuff gets into our bodies: "FDA estimates that BPA exposure from use in food contact materials in infants and adults is 2.42 Âµg/kg bw/day and 0.185 Âµg/kg bw/day, respectively." but also states that the "FDA has determined the appropriate no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) for its assessment of BPA to be the NOAEL for systemic toxicity of 5 mg/kg bw/day (5000 Âµg/kg bw/day) derived from two multigenerational rodent studies."
The 5 mg/kg bw/day standard was set by the EPA and is questioned by many groups as being way too high. The two multigenerational rodent studies that so impressed the FDA were sponsored by the American Plastics Council.
Other governments are banning BPA in kids' products
The Washington Post reported in April that "Despite more than 100 published studies by government scientists and university laboratories that have raised health concerns about a chemical compound that is central to the multibillion-dollar plastics industry, the Food and Drug Administration has deemed it safe largely because of two studies, both funded by an industry trade group. "
FDA Perfectly Happy with Industry Funded Research
The FDA defended the practice; Mitchell Cheeseman, deputy director of the FDA office of food additive safety, said ""The fact is, it's industry's responsibility to demonstrate the safety of their products," he said. "The fact that industry generated data to support the safety I don't think is an unusual thing." Full FDA report PDF here
Pete Myers, chief scientist for Environmental Health Sciences, is quoted by AP: "It's ironic FDA would choose to ignore dozens of studies funded by (the National Institutes of Health) — this country's best scientists — and instead rely on flawed studies from industry."
National Toxicology Program expressed concern
The National Toxicology Program recently concluded that there was "some concern" about the risks of BPA for infants. Full National Toxicology Program, Department of Heath and Human Services Report PDF here
Some question the timing of the report, noting that California is about to pass a law removing BPA from childrens' products.
"For this to come out on a Friday afternoon, just before California takes action, it definitely raises some eyebrows," said Renee Sharp, a senior analyst with the Environmental Working Group.
Not being a doctor or a chemist, I will not comment on the value of the FDA's report. There appears to be a consensus of opinion in the comments to the Wall Street Journal that "the FDA cannot be trusted. Interference with and suppression of credible science information to the public for the benefit of large corporate interests is what our current federal government is all about."
Marc Gunther wrote in Fortune recently: "I've come to the conclusion that the BPA story is, in essence, about trust. It's another bit of evidence to support my argument that it makes business sense in the long run for companies to be responsible and prudent, even if that costs them money today; regaining trust, once it's been lost, is both terribly difficult and expensive."
More on BPA in TreeHugger:
Don't Buy A Nalgene Water Bottle Until You Read This
BPA Danger may be greater from Tin Cans than Water Bottles
Nalgene Dumps Bisphenol A Like Hot Potato :
Bisphenol A Is In Your Tomato Sauce
Bisphenol A Could Be In Your Teeth
Polycarbonate Water bottles
Canada Calls Bisphenol A "Dangerous"
Time to Pack In the Polycarbonates
Bottled Water - Lifting the Lid :
MEC Nixes Nalgenes
Hot Water + Polycarbonate Bottles = More Gender-Benders
Gender Bender Chemicals Also Make You Fat
A Safer Sippy for Your Little Green Angels
Stefani Water Purifiers: an Alternative to Plastic
Kor One: Reinventing the Water Bottle
Are Sigg Aluminum Bottles BPA Free?