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FDA Upholds Science; Denies BPA Petition
Demonstrating its commitment to making decisions based on science, the US Food and Drug Administration rejected a petition by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) which sought a ban on bisphenol-A (BPA) which is used in the plastic linings of many food containers.

According to Business Week, FDA informed NRDC that "The information provided in your petition was not sufficient to persuade FDA, at this time, to initiate rulemaking to prohibit the use of BPA in human food and food packaging."

The agency's decision was not surprising. FDA explains on their website that, with support from the the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP), scientists at FDA's National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) "have been conducting in-depth studies of BPA since September 2008..." without finding justification to restrict it.

FDA's findings about BPA include:

  • "The level of BPA from food that could be passed from pregnant mothers to the fetus is so low that it could not be measured. Researchers fed pregnant rodents 100 to 1,000 times more BPA than people are exposed to through food, and could not detect the active form of BPA in the fetus eight hours after the mother's exposure."

  • "Exposure to BPA in human infants is from 84 to 92 percent less than previously estimated."

  • "BPA is 'exactly the opposite' from some other toxins, like dioxin, that can stay in the body's tissues for months or even years" since it "is rapidly metabolized and eliminated."
Moreover, the FDA "has not found evidence of BPA toxicity at low doses in rodent studies, including doses that are still above human exposure levels."

The NGO blogosphere is not likely to be kind to the career scientists and other dedicated professionals at FDA. Irrespective of the commentary, however, FDA staff and leadership can take pride in knowing they upheld the agency's highest standards and, thus, advanced the agency's mission to protect the public health.
  • See FDA BPA page
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