Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Controversy Over Bisphenol A Continues

Aug 8: The National Toxicology Program (NTP), Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR), second Bisphenol A (BPA) Expert Panel Meeting being held on August 6–8, 2007, in Alexandria, VA continues to generate controversy. The highly complex, 417-page, interim draft expert panel report containing sections 1–4 is currently being reviewed [See WIMS 6/27/07].

Bisphenol A (CAS RN: 80–5–07) is a high production volume chemical used in the production of epoxy resins, polyester resins, polysulfone resins, polyacrylate resins, polycarbonate plastics, and flame retardants. Polycarbonate plastics are used in food and drink packaging; resins are used as lacquers to coat metal products such as food cans, bottle tops, and water supply pipes. Some polymers used in dental sealants and tooth coatings contain bisphenol A. Exposure to the general population can occur through direct contact to bisphenol A or by exposure to food or drink that has been in contact with a material containing bisphenol A.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) issued a release on August 6, indicating "...the CERHR assessment -- prepared in part by a contractor since fired over concerns about conflicts of interest -- fails to meet the most basic scientific standards, even as independent scientists have declared BPA a clear risk to human health." EWG said the draft report "contains hundreds of potential errors of fact and interpretation, inconsistencies, and biases. The independent scientists who reviewed the latest CERHR draft documented pervasive and fundamental errors throughout, identifying almost 300 potential errors and 195 instances of incomplete reviews, as well as at least 48 basic inconsistencies."

Meanwhile, the Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) said it supports the sound scientific evaluation process of the CERHR and said they were "dismayed by the report on bisphenol A published on-line this week in the journal Reproductive Toxicology." According to a consensus statement from a panel of researchers contributing to the journal report, the low doses of BPA during pregnancy can have profound effects on fetal prostate, breast, testicle, mammary glands and brain development in animals.

Steven Hentges, Ph.D., of the ACC Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group said, “When the safety of common consumer products is in question, public health interests are best served by a rigorous, open and transparent scientific evaluation in which conflicts of interest and bias are tightly controlled and reported. The evaluation process used by CERHR was designed to meet these criteria and has been successfully applied for many years."

ACC said, unlike CERHR, the competing evaluation was conducted in a closed process with no opportunity for public input or participation. They said, "Although conclusions are represented as a scientific consensus, conflicts of interest and the potential for bias are apparent in the list of authors, which includes several with well established positions who have actively advocated against bisphenol A."

In March, EWG) released a report saying that the industrial chemical used to line cans of foods is linked to birth defects and was found in more than half of the samples of canned fruit, vegetables, soda, and baby formula from supermarket shelves. EWG said a comprehensive independent laboratory analysis conducted for EWG found bisphenol A, in 55 of 97 cans of food purchased from major supermarket chains in California, Connecticut and Georgia [
See WIMS 3/6/07].

Access extensive information on the August 6-8 expert panel meeting (
click here). Access a release from EWG with links to further information (click here). Access a release from ACC with links to further information (click here). Access information on the journal article (click here). Access the NTP BPA website for links to meeting announcements and the complete draft report (click here). Access various recent media report on BPA (click here). [*Toxics]