Anti-chemical activists continue to advocate to ban Bisphenol A (more commonly known as BPA), despite both BPA’s value and scientific evidence. In its latest manifestation, advocates are using scare tactics to justify the designation of BPA as a dangerous chemical that is registered on California’s Proposition 65 list.
Under Prop. 65, enacted in 1986, the California Office of Environemental Health Hazard Assessment publishes “a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.” But these health hazards do not apply to BPA.
A fundamental tenet of toxicology is that the dose makes the poison. Despite claims to the contrary, the research on BPA has not repealed this core principle.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration “continues to support the safety of BPA for the currently approved uses” based on its review of the scientific evidence surrounding BPA.
The European Food Safety Authority concurs with this opinion, stating “that BPA poses no health risk to consumers of any age group (including unborn children, infants and adolescents) at current exposure levels.”
Reviews by the EPA as well as government reviews in Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Japan and Germany concurred with these results.
Government grant money from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences continues to fund BPA research despite the vast amount of resources already dedicated to examining its safety. Worse, many of these grants are funding activists with pre-ordained conclusions regarding the safety of BPA and whose results are not replicable by other scientists – a fundamental tenet of the scientific methodology.
Given the overwhelming scientific evidence, there is no justification for including BPA on California’s Prop. 65 list of dangerous chemicals. OEHHA is, however, once again considering doing so.
BPA’s current use is ubiquitous. Medical devices, impact-resistant automobile bumpers, eyeglasses, sports safety equipment and food storage containers (to name just a few) all leverage the BPA technology to provide consumers with superior cost-effective products. The total market value of BPA production in 2013 was around $13 billion.
Discouraging BPA’s use hurts consumers of these products, potentially making cars less safe to drive, sports more dangerous to play, and medical devices less effective to use.
Based on the overwhelming findings from the scientific studies that have examined the issue, the anti-chemical rhetoric against BPA is not justifiable. When coupled with the real dangers that could arise if the widespread use of BPA is discouraged, discouraging the use of BPA is irresponsible.