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FDA to Reconsider BPA Risk

Weeks after the FDA's own advisory board accused the FDA of failing to adequately consider research showing the dangers of bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical found in many plastic baby bottles, plastic food containers, and metal can linings, the FDA has announced that it will reconsider the issue.

The FDA issued a draft risk assessment in August 2008, finding the chemical safe as it is now used.  This assessment was controversial because it stood out against a tide of recent scientific opinion to the contrary.  For example, the National Toxicology Program, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is of the opinion that there is reason to be concerned that BPA could harm the brain, behavior and the prostate gland in fetuses, infants and children.  This year, Canada added BPA to its list of toxic substances and plans to ban BPA from the plastics used to make baby bottles.  A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in September 2008 found that adults with high levels of BPA in their urine were more prone to heart disease, liver disease and diabetes.  As if that were not enough, more than 200 animal studies have linked minute amounts of BPA to a range of reproductive problems, brain damage, immune deficiencies, metabolic abnormalities, and behavioral oddities like hyperactivity, learning deficits and reduced maternal willingness to nurse offspring.