Bisphenol A (BPA) is a compound that strengthens some plastics that are used in a wide variety of consumer products.e.g., DVDs, sports equipment, drinking bottles, plastic food containers, etc. BPA has been the target of an ongoing environmentalist scare campaign claiming that it is associated with birth defects, early puberty, obesity, brain damage, cancer, even lowering men's sperm production. One problem, evaluations by numerous scientific panels have not found much scientific support for the scare.
Nevertheless, Canada and Minnesota have banned BPA in some products. Well, that action may have been "premature." That's not just my opinion, but that of a panel of experts convened under the auspices of the notoriously risk averse World Health Organization. The WHO panel noted that BPA is detected in people, but added that the experts …
…were also able to model circulating levels of BPA in the human body, which are very low, indicating that BPA is not accumulated in the body and is rapidly eliminated through urine.
A few recent experimental and epidemiological studies found associations between low BPA exposure levels and some adverse health outcomes. The meeting concluded that, at this stage, it is difficult to interpret the relevance of these studies in the light of current knowledge of this compound. Until these associations can be confirmed, initiation of public health measures would be premature.
Never fear, chemophobes will not rest until some researchers in desperate need of funding finally gin up a study "proving" that BPA is somehow dangerous. The study might even be right, but the results will be suspect to reasonable people because they obviously confirm what the usual gaggle of scaremongers already "know." I lament for science.
For more on the BPA scare, see John Stossel's Reason column, "Plastic Water Bottles Won't Hurt You."
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