The NTP, part of the National Institute of Health, has "some concern" about Bisphenol-A meaning that on a five-point scale, from no concern to very concerned, this chemical gets a three.
The panel restricted its analysis to the chemical's potential effects on reproduction and development. It consulted laboratory animal studies, some of which show health effects from the chemical at levels comparable to the levels that humans are exposed to.
The FDA, not the NTP, regulates the use of chemicals in commerce and food, however, so don't expect the government to take Bisphenol-A out of plastic anytime soon. The FDA will, however, take the FTP findings into account when it meets later this month to discuss its draft health assessment of Bisphenol-A.
"There remains considerable uncertainty whether the changes seen in the animal studies are directly applicable to humans, and whether they would result in clear adverse health effects," said NTP Associate Director John Bucher. "But we have concluded that the possibility that BPA may affect human development cannot be dismissed."
"We are expressing this level of concern because we see developmental changes occurring in some animal studies at BPA exposure levels similar to those experienced by humans," Bucher added.
Here's what the National Toxicology Program had to say:
"Some Concern" indicates a 3 on a scale of 1 (negligible concern) to 5 (high concern).
"Minimal Concern" indicates a 2 on the 1-5 scale.
"Negligible Concern" indicates a 1 on the 1-5 scale.
With the chemical still in wide use, what are people to do?
"Unfortunately, it is very difficult to offer advice on how the public should respond to this information," said Michael Shelby, director of the NIH's Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction. "More research is clearly needed to understand exactly how these findings relate to human health and development, but at this point we can't dismiss the possibility that the effects we're seeing in animals may occur in humans. If parents are concerned, they can make the personal choice to reduce exposures of their infants and children to BPA."
No. 7 plastic baby bottles, three- and five-gallon water bottles, certain food containers and other items, including the lining of cans, may contain Bisphenol-A.
This Bill Moyers Journal video offers great background on the issue:
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