RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Government policy makers and scientists finally seem to agree on something. In a reversal of its previous position, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finally expressed some concern over the health impacts of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used in rigid plastic dishes, water bottles, and baby bottles, as well as in the epoxy linings of nearly all canned foods and drinks. The announcement places the agency's position in line with those of government scientists at the National Toxicology Program who sounded the alarm over BPA plastic two years ago. BPA has been linked to a wide variety of health problems, including various forms of cancer, inflammation, diabetes, liver problems, and aggressive behavior in children. Most recently, a study published in the online journal PLoS One confirmed findings from prior research that linked the chemical to an increased risk of heart disease.
THE DETAILS: The FDA announced that it was changing its stance on BPA, noting that there was "some concern about the safety of BPA" for adults and children, based on studies showing that the chemical can have subtle effects on people even at low exposure levels. This is a complete, 180-degree turn from the FDA's previous position. In 2008, the agency published a report stating that the chemical was safe for all uses, relying on only two industry-funded studies finding that BPA had no impacts on human health, and ignoring the independent studies showing adverse affects at both low and high levels.