While the media continues to report activist fears over chemicals in plastics, another risk assessment buttresses the overwhelming consensus in science that the chemical is safe.
“An expert panel led by scientists at Gradient Corporation in Cambridge, Massachusetts completed an extensive scientific review of the reproductive and developmental effects of bisphenol A. Based on its review of all the relevant scientific literature, the panel found no consistent evidence of reproductive or developmental effects of bisphenol A at typical human exposure levels. The review considered all studies published through July 2008 that examined reproductive and developmental toxicity in animals at low bisphenol A doses. No studies were excluded based on study design or source of funding.According to Dr. Lorenz Rhomberg, the senior author of the review, “The hypothesis that the low levels of bisphenol A to which people are exposed could disrupt reproduction and development is not supported by coherent, consistent, or compelling evidence.”
This is the second review conducted by the Gradient corporation and the third major assessment funded by industry (the other was overseen by Harvard’s Center for Risk Analysis).
Some scientists, notably the George Washington university epidemiologist David Michaels have expressed doubt about industry-sponsored studies of BPA, noting that independently funded studies have found a risk where industry funded studies haven’t.
But the findings of these three industry-sponsored reviews all concur with the findings of independent risk assessments conducted by the European Union’s Food Safety Authority, the Japanese government, NSF International, and the Center for the Evaluation for Risks to Human Reproduction in the U.S. (Moreover, in his article for the Washington Post, Michaels radically undercounted the number of studies on BPA and ignored the problem of whether good laboratory practices were followed in the independent ones; an independent study with a sample size of six rodents is not going to have the statistical reliability of an industry-funded study containing hundreds of rodents).
Given that so many scientists have concluded that there are no reproductive or endocrine risks from BPA, the media need to start questioning whether the risks claimed for BPA by a handful of scientists and a heaped serving of environmental activists are actually based on firm science.