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BPA Supporter Gave Huge Gift to Research Center Headed by FDA Chief

Charles Gelman, a retired medical supply manufacturer who considers BPA to be safe gave $5 million to the University of Michigan Risk Science Center, a research center headed by Martin Philbert, the chairman of the FDA panel about to rule on the safety of BPA.

The July 2008 donation from Mr. Gelman is nearly 50 times the annual budget of the University of Michigan Risk Science Center.  In addition, Mr. Philbert did not disclose this donation to the FDA, and FDA officials only learned of it when reporters asked them about it.

Mr. Philbert's FDA committee is expected to release its final opinion this month (October 2008).  The decision is expected to have huge implications on the regulation and sale of the chemical in items such as baby bottles, reusable food containers and plastic wraps.

Since the late 1990s, studies have linked bisphenol A to cancer, heart disease, obesity, reproductive failures and hyperactivity in laboratory animals.

Mr. Gelman, a retired manufacturer of syringes and medical filtration devices, has fought against government regulation of pollutants for years.  He is an anti-regulation activist and an outspoken supporter of organizations that attack the credibility of government and academic scientists on such topics as global warming and hazardous chemicals.