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Congress Threatens FDA With Subpoenas on Approval of Baby Formula Contaminant

For Immediate Release: 
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
WASHINGTON – Late yesterday the two top investigators from the House Committee with oversight of FDA threatened subpoenas if information detailing FDA’s decision allowing the toxic chemical BPA in infant formula and other foods was not turned over to the Committee. 
 
In a letter to FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach, MD, Reps. John Dingell (D-MI) and Bart Stupak (D-MI) – the House Energy and Commerce Committee chair and its Investigations Subcommittee chair – demanded FDA provide information on why it ignored voluminous independent, peer-reviewed studies finding cause for concern over exposure to BPA, and instead used just two reports funded by the plastics industry when it claimed the chemical posed no risk to infants. 
 
“…..it appears that the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) position on BPA’s safety is entirely dependent on two studies, both of which are funded by the American Plastics Council, and one of which has not been published or peer-reviewed.  Given that there are dozens of published, peer-reviewed studies related to BPA, your development of critical public health policy in this manner, especially as related to infants and children, seems highly questionable,” wrote the lawmakers.
 
“Once again, the FDA is doing favors for industry instead of protecting the public health,” said Richard Wiles, Executive Director of Environmental Working Group. “Based on the agency’s own responses, it appears that the FDA has ignored solid scientific research on BPA risks in favor of the chemical industry’s position that this toxic chemical is somehow safe for babies.  They must be held to account,” Wiles added.

The full text of the Dingell/Stupak Letter to Commissioner von Eschenbach is below and can be found at the Committee’s website: http://energycommerce.house.gov/Press_110/110nr245.shtml

 


 

Dingell/Stupak Letter

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Honorable Andrew von Eschenbach, M.D.

Commissioner

Food and Drug Administration

5600 Fishers Lane

Rockville, MD 20857

 

Dear Dr. von Eschenbach:

Under Rules X and XI of the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Committee on Energy and Commerce and its Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations are investigating the use of the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA), particularly in products intended for use by infants and children.

Thank you for your February 25, 2008, response to our initial letter. However, based on your response, it appears that the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) position on BPA’s safety is entirely dependent on two studies, both of which are funded by the American Plastics Council, and one of which has not been published or peer-reviewed. Given that there are dozens of published, peer-reviewed studies related to BPA, your development of critical public health policy in this manner, especially as related to infants and children, seems highly questionable.

Therefore, we ask that you please respond to the following:

  1. Please provide in writing the names of those who specifically made the decision to base FDA’s assessment of BPA’s safety on these two studies;
  2. Please provide in writing the names of those who specifically made the determination of BPA’s safety based on these two studies; and
  3. Please describe the process by which FDA may reconsider their decision regarding the safety of BPA.

Finally, in your letter you indicate that you will provide copies of these two studies and their review memoranda as part of the response to our request. We have not yet received these studies or their review memoranda. Please provide them forthwith; otherwise, we may consider issuing a subpoena for these records.

Please deliver copies of the requested records to the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Room 316, Ford House Office Building, no later than two weeks from the date of this letter. Please note that for the purpose of responding to this request, the terms “record” and “relating” should be interpreted in accordance with the attachment to this letter. After review of the records, we may require additional records and/or staff interviews with FDA staff.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

 

Sincerely,

 

s/John D. Dingell

Chairman

Committee on Energy and Commerce

s/Bart Stupak Chairman

Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

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