FDA refuses to ban BPA from food packaging despite overwhelming health concerns
By Madison Ruppert
Editor of End the Lie
In yet another example of how horrifically corrupt the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has become, they have formally rejected a petition which would have resulted in bisphenol-A (BPA) being banned in all packing for food and drink.
They claimed that the petitioners did not have scientific evidence compelling enough to justify new restrictions, even though there have been many calls for a new risk assessment, implicating potential dangers even at low doses.
BPA is an endocrine disruptor, which means that it can actually mimic our own natural hormones, leading to many potential negative effects on health.
The concerns being raised about the presence of BPA in a great deal of food and drink packaging, including bottled drinks and canned foods especially, is more than valid seeing as a study found that, “The bodies of virtually all U.S. pregnant women carry multiple chemicals, including some banned since the 1970s and others used in common products such as non-stick cookware, processed foods and personal care products.”
They found that BPA was identified in a shocking 96% of the women who were surveyed as part of the study.
If anyone needed any more evidence showing how the FDA is, in fact, not working for the people it is supposed to serve but instead for the corporations it is supposed to regulate, I think this could be it.
The petition was put forth by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in an attempt to push supposed regulators into actually doing something about the pervasive chemical which has been linked to many worrisome health issues.
Unsurprisingly, the conclusions of government-sponsored scientists can contradict the findings of more independent researchers.
There have been many analog studies (meaning they were conducted on small animals and not humans) showing the potential dangers of BPA, which has been linked to negative effects on the reproductive and nervous systems especially in infants and children which can potentially result in cancer and/or other diseases.
In an attempt to counter these studies, the FDA claimed that the findings could not be applied to humans, which is quite odd seeing as analog studies are regularly conducted and given credence in the scientific community.
The FDA claimed that the studies cited by the NRDC in their petition were sometimes too small to be considered conclusive and thus could not be accepted.
Furthermore, they claimed that humans metabolize and eliminate BPA from our systems at a rate much faster than rats and other lab animals used in analog studies and that some of the studies involved injecting BPA into animals, while humans ingest it gradually through diet.
“While evidence from some studies have raised questions as to whether BPA may be associated with a variety of health effects, there remain serious questions about these studies, particularly as they relate to humans,” the FDA stated in response to the petition.
Apparently, it’s better to take the risk and put countless people and future generations in danger rather than take small proactive steps to prevent any potential negative effects.
The NRDC originally petitioned the FDA all the way back in 2008 in an attempt to get BPA banned as a food additive as well as all applications in packages for food and drink.
Unsurprisingly, the FDA simply ignored the petition, leading to the NRDC filing a lawsuit against the agency. A federal judge ruled in December that the FDA had to respond to the petition by the end of March.
The NRDC’s senior scientist for public health Dr. Sarah Janssen says that the FDA is no longer in touch with the latest research in both scientific and medical fields.
“The FDA is out-of-step with scientific and medical research,” Dr. Janssen said. “This illustrates the need for a major overhaul of how the government protects us against dangerous chemicals.”
“BPA is a toxic chemical that has no place in our food supply,” Dr. Janssen added. “The agency has failed to protect our health and safety in the face of scientific studies that continue to raise disturbing questions about the long-term effects of BPA exposures, especially in fetuses, babies and young children.”
The FDA’s most recent official statement about BPA’s effects on the health of infants and small children claimed that there was merely “some concern,” and they claim that their assessment of BPA’s health effects is ongoing.
The FDA says that they will likely produce another update based on their most recent findings at some point later this year, although the fact that the NRDC had to actually sue them to get a response to their petition makes me think this is somewhat unlikely.
Currently the federal government is spending some $30 million on additional studies examining the effects of BPA on humans.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, federal studies published in the last two years show that human embryos retain less of the potentially dangerous chemical than other animals used in analog studies.
Despite the federal government’s resistance to banning BPA, many corporations have responded to the demands of consumers and begun to phase out BPA from their products.
Earlier this month Campbell’s Soup announced that they would start removing BPA from their most popular soups. However, they did not provide a time frame and since there is no regulation mandating the removal, there is no verification that they actually will remove it.
Similarly, in 2008 Wal-Mart and Toys ‘R’ Us stated that they would start removing bottles and other children’s products which contained BPA.
The six leading baby bottle manufacturers also stated that by the end of 2009 their products were free of BPA.
Unfortunately, most of the canned items in the United States are still sealed with a resin containing BPA, a practice which dates all the way back to the 1950s. The chemical industry constantly claims that BPA is the most effective and safest sealant they can use and the FDA has continued to approve of the practice.
Despite the claims of the chemical industry, Heinz claims to use BPA-free coatings in their Nurture baby formula packages. ConAgra and General Mills both claim that they have transitioned to using alternative sealants for some of their canned tomatoes.
In 2010, the FDA revised their official opinion on BPA to say that there is merely “some concern” about the impact on the brain and reproductive systems of young children and infants.
Previously, they simply claimed that the BPA which leached into food from containers was not at all dangerous.
It will be interesting to see where their official opinion is in a few more years of continued research and public outcry.
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