A congressional investigation was launched this week into the use of bisphenol A (BPA) in children’s products. Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight Investigations, sent letters to the Food and Drug Administration and seven major baby product manufacturers, including Nestle(Download nestle_bpa_ltr_011708.pdf) and Wyeth, questioning the presence of BPA in the lining of metal cans used for infant formula.
“We have learned that BPA may be contained in the material used to line cans that contain infant formula and that BPA from this lining may leach into the formula itself, thereby exposing babies to BPA. We are interested to know how often BPA is used in such lining, whether the companies that produce the infant formula are aware that BPA is being used in this manner, and if they have tested their produce for the presence of BPA.”
The legislators specifically questioned the FDA (Download fda_bisphenol_a_ltr_011708.pdf ) on the credibility of a review they conducted in 2007 on the safety of BPA. According to a November statement, the FDA indicated there was no “safety concern at the current exposure level” and that a dietary exposure of 3.7 parts per billion in canned foods and baby bottles does not warrant regulatory action. The congressional letter calls on the FDA to release the studies that they used to formulate their claim.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel did an investigation into industry studies and panel reviews on BPA and found that disagreements with scientific reviews implicating BPA have come exclusively from plastics industry scientists. The paper examined a December report by the National Toxicology Program claiming the chemical was of minor concern and found that the panel members gave more weight to industry-funded studies and rejected studies from universities and foreign governments examining the growing concerns of BPA at smaller doses.
BPA is one of the most universal and pervasive chemicals in modern life - found in baby bottles, lining of metal food cans, dental sealants and countless other products - and has been linked to wide array of health concerns, including breast cancer. Because BPA is an unstable polymer, it can leach into infant formula and other food products. CDC researchers have found the endocrine disrupting chemical in 95 percent of urine samples from a broad national sample of adults. A study released this week from the peer reviewed journal Reproductive Toxicology found that the chemical may be far more dangerous for infants and young children because they lack the enzymes necessary to break the chemical down into inactive form.