Print 69 comment(s) - last by clovell.. on Aug 19 at 2:17 PM

A variety of polycarbonate bottles, including the popular Nalgene shatter-free bottles contain the chemical bisphenol A. In sufficient quanitities the chemical is believed to disrupt hormones, but the FDA concludes in an early report that the levels in plastics are low enough not to be harmful.
Could a common chemical found in plastics be toxic? -- the FDA says no

There are plenty of health concerns to consider these days.  With some doctors worried about the possible effects of cell phones on the human body, components of our everyday lives that seem immovable have been called into question.

Another major health concern is possible toxins from plastics.  Some plastics contain chemicals that are carcinogenic and some have speculated that the minute traces of the chemical that leaches into the drinking water steadily with time could cause cancer.  Other chemicals are thought to be not primarily carcinogenic, but to disrupt hormones and wreak havoc upon the human body in other ways.

Among the plastics that fall into the latter category are those made by Nalgene.  Nalgene leaches a compound bisphenol A, which in animal tests has been shown to lead changes in behavior and the brain and possibly reduce the survival and birth rate of fetuses.  It is thought to have similar effects on the human body.  Bisphenol A is used in the plastic and in other applications as a hardening agent.

The debate is particularly fierce due to some of household products that contain the chemical -- Nalgene shatter-proof drinking bottles, Nalgene baby bottles, and canned food (bisphenol A is used to seal cans).  As these items are all ingested there is much concern that human health may be adversely affected.  It is also found in many other household products such as plastic sunglasses and CDs.

Not so, the Food and Drug Administration concluded last Friday.  While many are concerned, they say they have reviewed the research and believe the levels of the chemical found in household items to be tolerable by the human body and are not a threat to infants.  The conclusions were presented in a draft report on the topic.

The decision was lauded by the American Chemistry Council, a Political Action Committee (PAC) and public relations organization who seeks to improve the chemical industry's image.  Steve Henges, an executive director with the council, states, "FDA is the government agency we rely upon to assess food-contact products. They've assessed this issue in great detail and their conclusion is very reassuring."

Critics blasted the report, though; as they say it relied heavily on studies funded by the plastics industry and ignores studies by leading medical experts.  Pete Myers, chief scientist for Environmental Health Sciences complains, "It's ironic FDA would choose to ignore dozens of studies funded by [the National Institutes of Health] -- this country's best scientists -- and instead rely on flawed studies from industry."

The FDA decided to revisit the topic on the chemical, which has been used for decades, due to the federal National Toxicology Program decision that there was "some concern" that the chemical could be harmful to infants.

Sufficient levels of bisphenol A can cause negative physiological effects in humans, the FDA did conclude.  It also reported that 93 percent of American had traces of bisphenol in their urine, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.  However the FDA concluded that the amount of the chemical leaching from household products falls thousands of times short of harmful levels.

The FDA will continue its analysis of the chemical in September with outside advisers debating the compounds safety at a September meeting.  The final report is being anticipated by lawmakers as it may influence their legislation.  Canada is currently considering banning the compound in baby bottles and California, New Jersey and at least 10 other states are considering banning its use in children's products.

The outcome will have a significant effect on the chemical industry as 6 million pounds of bisphenol are produced yearly.  Dow Chemical, BASF, and Bayer AG are among the largest producers.  They and their representative, the American Chemistry Council, hope that the FDA will conclude in its final report that the chemical is not harmful.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Abide by the FDA if you want to live
By SiliconJon on 8/18/2008 11:34:07 AM , Rating: 3
Like the FDA would ever collaborate for their own personal gain over the public health, or allow corporate profit to reign over possible public health problems. I mean sheesh, do you know how many thousands of people would have to be in on such's ludicrous! /sarcasm

I have my children on statins because the FDA tells me it's a good preventative measure for them. You can't possibly get me to believe corruption exists in a drug market.

I have my children on ADHD medication because my government controlled school diagnosed my children as being unruly, questioning that which they are told, and coming up with ideas that weren't presented before them.

I allow my doctor, with his walls decorated by every drug company in the book and his pens and clipboards paid by pharmaceuticals and his judgment enticed by free drugs and his stock portfolio rather than intense medical studies providing empirical data of proof, to tell me what drugs my kids and I need to take in order to cure our diseases because the FDA has been kind enough to inform me that drugs are required to cure diseases, period.

I mean, come on, this is the government we're talking about, not some group of incompetent and/or corrupt buffoons.

/more sarcasm

RE: Abide by the FDA if you want to live
By masher2 on 8/18/2008 12:13:41 PM , Rating: 2
> "Like the FDA would ever collaborate for their own personal gain over the public health"

I'm a bit unclear on how scientists at the FDA profit from the sale of Nalgene. Or are you hypothesizing massive bribes paid to thousands of separate people, and somehow not showing up on the balance sheets of the corporations involved?

Anyway, it's not just the government saying Nalgene is safe. It's every reputable scientist worth his salt.

Finally, if you're considering putting your food and water into metal or even wood containers instead of plastic, you'll be shocked to know of how many dangerous chemicals, metal ions, and other contaminants arise from that process. Or how many endocrinal disruptors and carcinogens are found naturally within the foods themselves.

> "I allow my doctor, with his walls decorated by every drug company in the book and his pens and clipboards paid by pharmaceuticals "

Yes, we all know doctors are willing to risk their careers and reputations for the sake of a free ballpoint pen and a couple of nifty internal organ posters.

RE: Abide by the FDA if you want to live
By john12 on 8/18/2008 2:32:16 PM , Rating: 2
The way that government reports and employees are subverted is by offering them jobs after their employment is over. Reports maybe censored by the boss. Not thousands of bribes, just a few along with some campaign contributions.
Doctors get more than pens from drug companies. They get vacations, even cash payments.
Or haven't you been paying attention.

By masher2 on 8/18/2008 2:48:47 PM , Rating: 2
This isn't a defense contractor we're talking about here, but rather plastic bottle makers. A job offer there would be a threat to most FDA researchers, rather than a bribe.

But by all means, if you have evidence to the contrary, post it here. Until then, its a conspiracy theory, and about as credible as the most recent sighting of Elvis.

By clovell on 8/18/2008 5:18:28 PM , Rating: 2
Sales & marketing tactics are strictly regulated within the drug industry, and there are severe consequences for giving extravagant gifts, not the least of which are a lack of public trust and investor confidence, which are real threats since the Vioxx debacle.

Any literature distributed to doctors must be presented at a major conference or in a peer-reviewed journal or be part of the FDA-approved drug label.

Seriously though - you're supposing quite a number of job offerings, and if you've paid attention to the drug industry lately, and it's stock prices, there aren't many openings to be filled.

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls

Most Popular ArticlesTop 5 Smart Watches
July 21, 2016, 11:48 PM
Free Windows 10 offer ends July 29th, 2016: 10 Reasons to Upgrade Immediately
July 22, 2016, 9:19 PM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki