FDA Wimps Out on BPA : Exclusive Renegade Health Article

Wednesday Apr 11 | BY |
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The FDA says “no” to a ban on BPA,
but manufacturers are bowing to public pressure.

Despite all the concern about the hormone-altering properties of bisphenol-A (BPA)—an industrial chemical used in the manufacturing of plastics—the FDA recently stated that they will not be banning the chemical.

At least, not yet.

Why the hold up?

Agency Rejects Petition from NRDC
The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) was the latest in a long line of concerned organizations to try to prod the government agency into action. On October 28, 2008, the organization filed a petition asking the FDA to outlaw the use of BPA in our food supply. Specifically, they wanted it out of our food packaging, food containers, and other materials likely to come into contact with food. Since the petition, more evidence has come to light regarding the health dangers associated with BPA, yet the FDA said in its recent ruling that there still is not enough.

“The FDA denied the NRDC petition because it did not have the scientific data needed for the FDA to change current regulations, which allows the use of BPA in food packaging,” said FDA spokesman Doug Karas in a statement sent to the AFP.

The Evidence is In
Let’s look at what’s been going on with this chemical.

  • According to the National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, BPA was detected in over 92 percent of persons tested (urine tests). These results indicated “widespread exposure to BPA in the U.S. population.” Humans are exposed to BPA through beverage containers, linings of food cans, plastic dinnerware, and other products. “General exposure to BPA at low levels comes from eating food or drinking water stored in containers that have BPA.”
  • In a report released in 2008, the National Institutes of Health noted they were concerned about the effects of BPA on brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at current rates of exposure.
  • Also in 2008, the government of Canada, after seven years of study, listed BPA as a toxic substance, and introduced regulations to ban selling, advertising, and manufacturing of baby bottles made with BPA-related plastics, as well as to minimize or eliminate BPA-based linings in plastics.
  • In 2009, the City Council in Chicago adopted a measure banning the sale of baby bottles and sippy cups made with BPA. Some bottle manufacturers like “Nalgene” vowed to stop using BPA in their manufacturing processes soon after.
  • In 2010, the FDA itself admitted that it was concerned about the same affects in children.
  • In animal studies, BPA has been shown to mimic the female hormone estrogen. Exposure among test animals early in life is associated with precancerous changes in mammary and prostate glands, early-onset puberty, reproductive abnormalities, and obesity with insulin resistance. The FDA, however, remains unconvinced that these effects might transfer to humans.
  • In a study published in Pediatrics in 2011, researchers found that gestational exposure to BPA affected behavioral and emotional regulation at 3 years of age, especially among girls. In other words, these girls were more likely to be anxious and depressed and to exhibit poorer emotional control and inhibition. “Clinicians may advise concerned parents to reduce their exposure to certain consumer products,” the researchers stated.
  • In a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2008, Frederick S. vom Saal, Ph.D., and colleagues conducted a large major epidemiologic study examining the health effects of BPA, and found a significant relationship between urine concentrations of BPA and cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and liver-enzyme abnormalities. He recommended the U.S. declare BPA a toxic chemical requiring aggressive action to limit human and environmental exposures.
  • The American Medical Association supports restrictions on products containing BPA, including banning the sale of baby bottles and infant feeding cups made with BPA. They also support increased federal oversight and clear labeling of products that contain BPA.

Not the Last Word
Despite all this information and more, the FDA is still dragging its feet. They’re waiting for the results of more studies, particularly human studies, as apparently high doses of BPA were used in animal studies that showed adverse effects, and comparable rates in humans may not have the same effects. Plus, they stated in their report that post-2008 studies by the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) found that the level of BPA from food passed from pregnant mothers to the fetus was so low that it could not be measured. In addition, NCTR researchers built mathematical models of what happens to BPA once it’s in the human body, showing that it’s rapidly metabolized and eliminated through feces and urine.

The FDA assures us that they will continue scientific study and review of all new evidence concerning BPA. They are already “supporting” efforts to develop and use alternatives to BPA for the linings of infant formula cans. Still, a lot of people are disappointed.

“The next decision the FDA should make is to remove ‘responsible for protecting the public health’ from its mission statement,” said Jane Houlihan, senior vice president for research at the Environmental working Group.

In the meantime, it’s up to us. Fortunately, public opinion on this matter—particularly that of concerned mothers—has encouraged many manufacturers to make the changes anyway, despite the FDA. Cambell’s has started using a BPA alternative in some of its soup cans, and stated it’s working to phase out the use of the chemical in all canned products. In 2008, Wal-Mart and Toys “R” Us began phasing out bottles, sippy cups and other children’s items containing BPA. By the end of 2009, the six leading makers of baby bottles in the U.S. went BPA-free.

Tips for You
To reduce your exposure to BPA, follow these tips:

  • Avoid plastic water bottles and similar bottles used for juice, tea, etc. Use stainless steel instead.
  • Ask your dentist for BPA-free options (some dental sealants contain BPA).
  • Avoid plastics marked with a #7, especially if you’re pregnant. Look for those marked with the recycling numbers 1, 2, and 4 instead, which do not contain BPA. These are typically opaque.
  • Avoid canned beverages, foods, and soups, unless they are marked BPA-free. Choose frozen options, or those in boxes or glass jars.
  • Look for infant formula in glass containers and BPA-free plastics rather than cans.
  • Never use plastic in the microwave, including sippy cups, baby bottles, and other plastic food containers. Choose glass and ceramic heating containers.
  • Use pacifiers and toys that are BPA-free.
  • Realize that BPA is in the linings of soda pop and beer cans.

A last interesting note—on March 16, 2012, Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass.) filed three separate petitions asking the FDA to ban the use of BPA in infant formula and baby/toddler food packaging, in reusable food and beverage containers, and in canned food and beverage packaging.

Kev’s Thoughts:

This is a great article that shows just how important it is to make your own decisions about health. The FDA is not going to protect you from everything (some would argue, not much at all.)

Of course, when I saw that there would be no ban I was not surprised. A move like this, simply affirms that the burden of proof is on the public when it comes to BPA — even though we’re not chemists and scientists.

Regardless, I abide by a simple rule when it comes to non-natural products — the less you have around you, the better off you are. BPA is a chemical that is quite easy to take out of your life, so there’s no reason you need to be exposed to it. Removing as much plastic out of your life is another way to lessen the exposure to potentially harmful, hormone altering substances.

One thing to watch out for is that many companies are capitalizing on the no-BPA craze and creating plastic products with alternatively toxic chemicals. They know that if it’s BPA-free you’ll buy it, even though it contains Bisphenol S — a chemical that also affects your hormonal balance.

So, clearly, just because a plastic product says BPA-free doesn’t mean it’s as harmless as a local, organic apple.

When it comes to plastics, it’s up to the consumer to decide how much is produced, so be demanding and make a point to use as little as possible. It’s better for you, me, the environment and the planet.


Your Question of the Day: What do you think of the FDA’s decision?

* * *

Photo courtesy MattHurst via Flickr.com.

“FDA Won’t Ban BPA from Food Packages; Environmental Groups Charge Bisphenal-A is a Hormone-Disrupting Chemical,” NY Daily News, April 2, 2012, http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/fda-ban-bpa-food-packages-environmental-groups-charge-bisphenol-a-a-hormone-disrupting-chemical-article-1.1054534.

Smarter Living: Chemical Index—Bisphenol A, Natural Resources Defense Council, http://www.nrdc.org/living/chemicalindex/bisphenol-a.asp.

Bisphenol A (BPA), U.S. Food and Drug Administration, http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodIngredientsPackaging/ucm166145.htm.

Associated Press, “Bisphenol A Won’t be Banned by FDA,” San Francisco Chronicle, March 31, 2012. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/03/30/MNJK1NSN8T.DTL.

Riette van Laack, “FDA Denies NRDC’s Petition to Ban BPA in Food Packaging,” April 3, 2012, http://www.fdalawblog.net/fda_law_blog_hyman_phelps/2012/04/fda-denies-nrdcs-petition-to-ban-bpa-in-food-packaging.html.

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Mary says:

    I think it’s part of the plan to depopulate the planet, to move to a one-world government.

  2. Lynne M. Harrington-Crick says:

    I recommend everyone watch the Thrive movie. Go to http://www.thrivemovement

  3. Janey says:

    The FDA is owned by big business…we all KNOW that!!!

  4. Jewel says:

    Yes, the THRIVE movie is a must see.

  5. LuAnn says:

    My response to the FDA’s decision? STOOPID @$$#*!!S !!!

  6. The FDA has been bought by industry like almost other organizations in our government . I have no words for the cynical lack of integrity in most of our politicians and people we put into congress to keep out country safe. When moves are made to do the right thing the LEFT who we expect to side with the people are impotent. I am disgusted.

  7. wendy green says:

    FDA. i don’t trust any of the govt agencies. They are corrupt from the inside out. ow about these headlines today…”The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday finalized a plan that would ask drug companies to voluntarily limit the use of certain antibiotics in animal feed, citing long-held concerns that their overuse in livestock promotes the development of drug-resistant bacteria that can infect people.

    “ASK” ? “Voluntary”? This will go absolutely no where. ridiculous.

  8. naomi says:

    loved the video!

  9. Oleander says:

    Not sure what’s happening in the UK. Does anyone know? Can’s do not seem to be labelled.

  10. Paul says:

    If you would like to know what is really going on, go to davidicke.com immense level of understanding of our current situation. The future will be what we make it, your choice, and now is the time to choose.

  11. Drew Fowler says:

    I just watched the movie “Bag it” last night…and they spoke of BPA…and that we need to do somthing now!!…not just for us but for the children..

  12. Joe says:

    I’m not surprised, I wasn’t really expecting them to do the right thing. If they actually banned the use of BPA, that would’ve been the real surprise.

  13. EmmaK says:

    Get a copy of “The Conscience of a Conservative” by Senator Barry Goldwater. This great man’s words will open your eyes.

  14. Bryan says:

    It is hard not to be cynical as these decisions come out of the FDA. Notice no-one is talking about the results of animal studies for the sake of the animals we share this planet with. Like so what if animals in the wild drinking water running off of some land fill have high levels of BPA in their blood and show all kinds of horrible health problems….humans aren’t doing that…. 🙁

    Howard Straus (The son of Charlotte Gerson) has a radio show called “The Power of Natural Healing” on Voice America Radio http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/1951/the-power-of-natural-healing

    His take on the FDA is basically as follows:

    The FDA gives out the best most healthful recommendations: Simply reverse whatever they say. If they say it is healthy…run from it like it was a rabid dog. If they say it is dangerous, feel free to take as much as you want. LOL Now that is cynical! LOL

  15. Dia says:

    Typical, the FDA has a long history of selling out to corporate dollars. I would like to see healthcare reform that overhauled the FDA and completely changed how it operates.

    Thank you for the list of things that we can do to avoid BPA.

  16. Dennis Kiss says:

    This article states that my country-Canada-has began the process to eliminate BPA use. However, is this complete or only for infant bottles and such. The only option is to be diligent, and read all my product labels. Quite time consuming in a very busy world. But, that is the position the major industry using these chemicals want you to have. The attitude of inconvenience allows the continued use of toxic products.

  17. Jim McMahon says:

    One must also beware of plastics labeled BPA free. About a year ago I read an article in Men’s Health magazine which quoted a scientist saying that BPA substitutes also mimic estrogen, so this web of toxicity is even more complex. You can find that source and a couple others on my blog: http://bestwaterpurificationblog.com/blog/2011/06/09/when-are-you-exposed-to-bpa/


  18. zyxomma says:

    I abhor the FDA’s decision, but it’s unsurprising. I abhor most of the FDA (and USDA)’s decisions. When their regulations actually contribute to, rather than destroy, our health, I’ll change my mind. Not before.

    One source of BPA exposure is sales/credit card/bank receipts. If you don’t have gloves with you (who does when it’s warm?), either have the checkout clerk place your receipt in your (own) bag, or grab it with a piece of folded paper. You’re not likely to wash your hands between being issued a receipt and the next time you touch your mouth.

    Health and peace.

  19. zyxomma says:

    p.s. Many bottles of water are made of #1 plastic, but it’s still plastic!

  20. LynnCS says:

    Of the people, by the people, and for the people. Not so much!!

  21. Aimee says:

    I am surprised. My immediate past life was as a polymer chemist (Australia) & BPA was phased out of my research lab here prior to my leaving the industry. The polymer research industry is aware of the issues and are avoiding using it for the benefit of the research scientist’s health. So why is the FDA having issues? Is it a simple matter of announcing something before an efficient phasing out plan is in place?

  22. Marla King says:

    The video if it does describe one’s personal beliefs, leaves nothing to live for. Sad.
    Design infers Designer. Generous, beauteous, functional symbiosis, intent on our happiness, the amazing GOD that made us! If anyone doubts He is trying to get our attention… He is coming back, just watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWzLK0IDs0U&feature=autoplay&list=UU6Ck6N7gRst7qwkXdapbLaQ&lf=plcp&playnext=1
    and this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0JchP9G_qI&list=UU6Ck6N7gRst7qwkXdapbLaQ&index=1&feature=plcp..

    Please check it out! Facts trump opinion!

  23. Marla King says:

    P.S. The ark doors are open (spiritually speaking) yet a little while longer.. the animals have already gone in! In that respect, the video makes a good point! (90% of original species are already extinct!)

  24. I think it’s odd to stick plastic into a baby’s mouth straight after birth and make it suck on it constantly for at least a year (actullay, I have no clue on how long kids use dummies/pacifiers…)

  25. I also think its odd that people want to buy drinkable junk, which is stored in plastic bottels, which have a shelflife longer than oneself.

  26. George Carlin, phenomenal! Google or Youtube “Burzynski…FDA Tyranny”, and the Zeitgeist documentaries, to see that governments, corporations, organizations, (and most of us) are easily corrupted by our centralized banking, monetary system/economy. Research “a resource-based economy. Change the system, solve the problem.

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