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FDA Panel Breaks With Agency and Chemical Lobby on Toxic Plastics Chemical Safety

For Immediate Release: 
Tuesday, October 28, 2008

WASHINGTON – In a stinging rebuke to the Food and Drug Administration, a key science advisory panel has broken with Bush FDA officials and the American Chemistry Council (ACC) and embraced the position of public health advocates and dozens of independent scientists that the toxic plastics chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) may be a threat to human health.

“Up until now, distinguishing between the Bush FDA and the chemical lobby has been virtually impossible,” said Environmental Working Group (EWG) Executive Director Richard Wiles. "It's good to see that FDA advisors are urging the agency brass to stop assuring the public that BPA is safe and to take seriously independent scientific research that raises troubling questions about exposure to even trace amounts."

“However, this is not enough,” added Wiles. “We only have one chance to get it right when it comes to the health of our children. We need to follow the lead of Canada and take immediate action to reduce human exposure to this toxin, starting with banning BPA in infant formula cans and baby bottles.” Independent research has linked BPA to a laundry list of disorders, including cancer, brain and neurological and behavioral problems, reproductive and cardiovascular system damage and adult onset diabetes.

In March 2007, the Environmental Working Group published a ground-breaking study that found that more than half the canned foods tested contained BPA, a synthetic estrogen and widely-used component of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resin coatings used to line nearly all cans of food processed in the US.

EWG found that infants fed liquid formula, which can make up their total diet for the first six months of life, suffered the greatest exposures to the toxin, which leaches into cans from the epoxy linings. Babies on liquid formula and children and adults who ate just 1 to 3 daily servings of canned foods like chicken soup and ravioli could ingest BPA at unsafe levels approaching those that have caused serious harm in animal studies.

EWG found that all major baby formula makers admitted to using BPA in can linings. All types of liquid formula packaged in metal cans have detectable BPA, while powdered formula has none. Therefore, powdered formula is a safer choice. EWG posted an online guide to help parents protect their babies from BPA-contaminated formula and bottles.

EWG's point-by-point analysis of the advisory panel’s report can be seen at: http://www.ewg.org/node/27316

 

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EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment.

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