Thursday, August 09, 2007

Bisphenol A Panel Makes Conclusions; Sides Divided

Aug 9: The National Toxicology Program (NTP) Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (CERHR) expert panel that met on August 6-8, 2007, in Alexandria, Virginia to evaluate an extensive Bisphenol A report, has posted a summary of its meeting [See WIMS 8/8/07]. This was the second public meeting of the expert panel, a group of 12 independent scientists convened to review and assess scientific studies on the potential reproductive and developmental hazards of Bisphenol A. The review has been highly controversial as previous reported. The panel divided its conclusions into three categories: For pregnant women and fetuses; For infants and children; and For adults.

According to the conclusions for pregnant women and fetuses the Expert Panel expressed: some concern that exposure to Bisphenol A in utero causes neural and behavioral effects; expressed minimal concern that exposure to Bisphenol A in utero causes effects on the prostate; minimal concern that exposure to Bisphenol A in utero potentially causes accelerations in puberty; and negligible concern that exposure to Bisphenol A in utero produces birth defects and malformations.

For infants and children the Expert Panel expressed: some concern that exposure to Bisphenol A causes neural and behavioral effects; and minimal concern that exposure to Bisphenol A potentially causes accelerations in puberty.

For adults the Expert Panel expressed: negligible concern for adverse reproductive effects following exposures in the general population to Bisphenol A. For highly exposed subgroups, such as occupationally exposed populations, the level of concern is elevated to minimal.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) Senior Scientist Dr. Anila Jacob, MD, MPH, issued a statement in response to the panel saying they "largely ignore wide ranging scientific research connecting human health risks with exposure to Bisphenol-A (BPA). The panel instead endorsed an error riddled, industry influenced 'report' minimizing the risks that BPA poses to humans."

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) issued a release saying the panel report "dramatically understates the human health risks from real-world exposure to the toxic chemical Bisphenol A (BPA)" and, NRDC’s senior scientist in Health and Environment Programs, Dr. Jennifer Sass, said, “If I were a committee member, I wouldn’t sign off on this broken report.”

To the contrary, Steven Hentges, Ph.D., of the American Chemistry Council’s Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group said, “The safety of our products is our top priority. The conclusions reported today provide strong reassurance to consumers that they are not at risk from use of products made from bisphenol A. Most importantly, these conclusions are from a very credible, highly qualified group of independent scientists with no conflicts of interest, operating in an open and transparent review process.”

NRDC also points out that a consensus statement, published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology, from 38 internationally recognized scientific experts saying, “The wide range of adverse effects of low doses of BPA in laboratory animals exposed both during development and in adulthood is a great cause for concern with regard to the potential for similar adverse effects in humans.” ACC was highly critical of the journal report, saying, "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."

The next steps will be for the National Toxicology Program to compile all information, including the consensus data of the 38 experts and its own in-house experts to draft its final report.

Access extensive information on the August 6-8 expert panel meeting including the meeting summary (
click here). Access a release from EWG (click here). Access a release from NRDC (click here). Access a release from ACC (click here). [*Toxics]