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Speaking of BPA



In light of Professor Krauss's op-ed in the Financial Post on the precautionary principle and bisphenol A (BPA), I thought it might be useful to see what's been on the wires in recent weeks about the chemical.

But first, from the FDA: "Based on our ongoing review, we believe there is a large body of evidence that indicates that FDA-regulated products containing BPA currently on the market are safe and that exposure levels to BPA from food contact materials, including for infants and children, are below those that may cause health effects. However, we will continue to consider new research and information as they become available."

And second, let's note the recent introduction of federal legislation to ban the substance based on some reports and lots of fears and yes, the precautionary principle as instinctively interpreted by legislators.

H.R. 6228: To ban the use of bisphenol A in food and beverage containers. Sponsor: Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA)
S. 2928: A bill to ban bisphenol A in children's products. Sponsor: Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY).

And now for the news!

  • AP, "Parents sue over baby bottles": "Columbus, Ohio - Four Ohio parents have filed a federal lawsuit against makers of baby bottles, claiming the bottles were made with a harmful chemical that sparked congressional hearings and prompted Wal-Mart and other retailers to pledge to phase out the products."
  • WFMY-TV News, Triad, North Carolina, "Beware of Toxin in Your Plastic Bottles": "Greensboro, NC -- The chemical acts like Estrogen. It's called bisphenol-A or BPA. A Centers For Disease Control study found practically every American, 95% of us, has BPA in our system and at levels known to impact the health of test animals. A government research group is expected to come out next month with a study on the dangers of BPA." This being television, there's a scared mom, but no balance. The story does contains a link to the very nongovernmental Environmental Working Group.

  • New York Sun, op-ed, Nancy McDermott, "Cap That Bottle Scare": "The problem with the BPA scare is not just that parents have been frightened out of their wits about a basically benign chemical, or even the potentially huge cost of identifying alternatives and scrapping an entirely safe and effective manufacturing processes. The real problem with the BPA scare is the way it elevates fear above rational consideration of the evidence, and makes it into an organizing principle for all of society."
  • Associated Press, "Lawsuit filed against Playtex for bisphenol A": " U.S. woman has filed a federal lawsuit against Playtex Products, alleging the manufacturer failed to disclose its baby bottles were made using the chemical bisphenol A. The lawsuit, filed by Ashley Campbell of Westport, Conn., seeks national class action status. Campbell contends she purchased the bottles not knowing they contained BPA."
  • Newsday, "Wal-Mart, Toys R Us to remove products with BPA": "Even while Congress is still considering measures to ban a controversial chemical used in producing baby cups, toys and water bottles, two major retailers on Long Island and elsewhere are removing products containing such chemicals from their shelves, they said yesterday."
  • The Associated Press, "FDA official says baby bottles with bisphenol A safe": "WASHINGTON (AP) -- Plastic baby bottles and water bottles are safe, a federal health official said Tuesday, seeking to ease public concerns about the health hazards of a chemical used in the products."

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.