“Studies employing standardized toxicity tests have thus far supported the safety of current low levels of human exposure to BPA[.] However, on the basis of results from recent studies using novel approaches to test for subtle effects, both the National Toxicology Program at the National Institutes of Health and FDA have some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children. In cooperation with the National Toxicology Program, FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research is carrying out in-depth studies to answer key questions and clarify uncertainties about the risks of BPA.”
Thus, more studies are needed. In the history of science “novel” findings sometimes turn out to be correct, thus advancing knowledge, or they turn out to be false (it is worth noting that the EPA has already failed to confirm some of these “novel” findings in a recent paper). Either way the issue will remain a topic of controversy for the next two years. Political, media and activist pressure on the FDA to curb BPA — based on exaggerated and misleading activist complaints about science being ignored — have been intense; and the hyper-cautious approach of today’s decision reflects that; but, at the same time, the FDA position on the current safety of BPA concurs with the European Union, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Japan and even California. Expect that salient fact to be ignored in the coming, days, weeks, and months, as it has been one of the many crucial aspects of the controversy ignored in the media coverage over the past three years. STATS will continue to analyze the gaps between good science and the media’s coverage of the issue in the coming months and years. In the meantime, don’t panic.