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FDA To Hold Meeting On Safety of Bisphenol-A

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Tuesday, August 19, 2008 12:45 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Defective and Dangerous Products, Toxic Substances, Bisphenol-A, Protecting Your Family, Phthalates


IMAGE SOURCE: © WikiMedia Commons / Bisphenol-A / Sbrools

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is meeting on September 16 regarding the safety of bisphenol-A (BPA), a chemical commonly found in baby bottles and other household products. Public input is welcome, the FDA said.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG), one of several environmental groups that has drawn attention to BPA, says the chemical poses health risks to children and animals.

But the FDA and European regulators, along with the plastics industry, contend it is safe and poses no risk.

The National Toxicology Program, an organization made up of several federal health and safety groups issued a report outlining concerns that bisphenol-A can cause behavioral and neural problems in infants, fetuses and children – all topics which will be addressed at the meeting.

Bisphenol-A, (BPA) is a chemical used to make plastics clear and shatter-resistant. The chemical is commonly used in the manufacturing of baby bottles, water bottles and food containers.

Consumer and environmental safety groups have highlighted studies that show BPA can interfere with how the body absorbs estrogen, a key hormone to development in babies.

The FDA has posted a draft that says further studies of the chemical’s safety are needed, as there is not enough information to decipher if people are consuming unsafe levels – and if so, what those levels may be.

Progress against Toxins in Toys

A nationwide ban on chemicals, known as phthalates, commonly used in soft plastic toys and cosmetics is expected to go into effect in early 2009 and will mark an important turning point in the efforts to remove toxic substances found in consumer products.

The ban on phthalates is part of a large revamping of the nation’s consumer safety system agreed upon last month by Congress. It reflects the growing concerns among public health advocates and parents that children are absorbing far too many harmful substances, often times by simply playing with a rubber ducky, a building block or drinking from their plastic bottle.

Phthalates are suspected of causing a host of adverse health effects and developmental problems. Potential risks from thousands of other widely used chemicals still remain undetermined at this time. While the federal government admits it has no idea whether or not many chemicals are safe, despite promises to conduct more testing.

Congress and a handful of states recently voted to force six phthalates off the U.S. market. Three of which are banned permanently and the others will be kept from inclusion in products until manufacturers can prove they are safe and pose no risk.

The ban on phthalates was included in a larger consumer safety bill that was signed into law last week by President George Bush. The overhaul was prompted by an investigation that outlined how the U.S. Product Safety Commission (CPSC) failed to adequately notify families about potential hazards lurking in cribs, toys and various other children’s products.

Major retailers such as Wal-Mart and Toys “R” Us have already begun pulling products that contain phthalates from the shelves and they are pushing for alternatives.

Last month, a lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court by four Ohio parents, against five baby bottle makers who use the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in their products. #

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