Monday, January 11, 2010

Loony bisphenol phobia still not dead

Scare claim: Bisphenol A in plastic bottles 'harms babies'. Like most things, BPA can be harmful. So can common salt. The toxicity is in the dose. Any release of BPA from baby bottles would be at the rate of something like one molecule at a time and there is neither probability nor evidence of toxicity at that rate. And we all in fact have BPA in us with no apparent ill effects. Anti-business alarmists have been trying for years to demonize this stuff. There is some evidence that industrial exposure to BPA is harmful, but that shows only that many things (even water) can be harmful if you ingest huge amounts of them. It does not follow that something ingested in huge amounts is harmful in tiny amounts. The opposite can be true. Check hormesis. The report below is from Australia but there is an article debunking similar scares in the USA here

FEDERAL health authorities are to come under increasing pressure to ban the sale of baby bottles made with Bisphenol A (BPA) after new evidence it can harm health. Widely used in plastics, particularly food and drink containers, BPA leaches when heated, leading it to being withdrawn elsewhere in the world.

It had been thought the chemical posed no real health threat in tiny doses, but scientists in the UK now say they have found compelling evidence the chemical is linked to breast cancer and sex hormone imbalances, and is particularly linked to adverse health risks to babies. [Reference?]

A team of European scientists will this month begin a campaign to lobby their governments to remove baby bottles containing BPA from shelves. Last year, baby bottle manufacturers in the US removed BPA from their products, reacting to widespread consumer concern.

Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon said yesterday it was the responsibility of the Therapeutic Goods Administration to declare BPA unsafe or otherwise. The TGA in turn said it was an issue for the federal Health Department, which passed the buck and declared it an issue for Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). FSANZ confirmed it had no regulatory authority over baby bottles and had never commissioned its own study on the issue, though it was monitoring the overseas BPA debate and that the most up-to-date science indicated there was a maximum daily safe limit.

Queensland-based anti-BPA campaigner Nadia Duensing has written to the Health Minister in light of the new research. "I can't understand why the Australian Government is not following the lead from elsewhere," she said. Ms Duensing, a grandmother, was so concerned about the possible health effects of BPA she launched a website campaigning against the chemical and selling BPA-free baby products.

Some of the biggest-selling baby bottle brands in Australia still sell bottles with BPA in them, including Avent, which is owned by Philips. A Philips spokeswoman said yesterday that the company was acting responsibly and within guidelines set out by FSANZ, which concluded that levels of exposure (in infants) were very low and did not pose a significant health risk.

Ms Duensing said most mums did not realise the differences between different types of plastic bottles. "Mothers go into a shop and see a polycarbonate bottle for about $10 and a BPA-free one for $18 and they don't know the difference – they just get the cheaper one thinking plastic is plastic," she said.

Food & Health Skeptic

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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