With momentum building to ban Bisphenol A, the chemical industry is using the tactics that kept cigarettes on the shelve for so many years after the health risks had been well documented, according to the latest investigative report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and its Heart of Green-nominated reporters. The same reporting team -- Meg Kissinger and Suzanne Rust -- had already revealed how the industry was seeking a new spokesperson, ideally a young pregnant woman, to tell the public how great Bisphenol A is.
Some key facts from the new report, which is a must-read:
Bisphenol A is used in a wide variety of hard, clear plastics, in the lining of cans and -- as the new report reveals -- the filters of cigarettes. The endocrine disrupting chemical, a synthetic estrogen, can be found in the blood of nearly every American tested, and exposure has been linked to a wide variety of health issues in both laboratory and human health studies: Diabetes, prostate cancer, developmental and reproductive problems and more. The Food and Drug Administration has not backed off its endorsement of the chemical as safe, despite independent research that suggests the chemical mimics hormones and could be linked to serious health problems. (It is currently reviewing its safety assessment.)
The FDA's stance -- which it determined based on two industry-funded studies and to the exclusion of dozens, if not hundreds, of independent scientific research raising serious questions about the safety of the chemical -- is coming under increasing fire from both within the U.S. and abroad.
As concerns over the chemical have mounted -- largely due to the reporting of the Sentinel reporters over the last couple years -- major retailers and manufacturers like Wal-Mart, Toys R Us and Nalgene (also recognized for Heart of Green Award consideration) have vowed to phase out the use of Bisphenol A in children's products. Even Sunoco, one of the chemical's biggest manufacturers, has stopped selling it to companies that might use it in a children's product.
Canada has banned Bisphenol A in many products for babies and young children, and several U.S. cities, counties and/or states have followed suit. The National Toxicology Program has raised concerns about Bisphenol A's potential to disrupt the normal development of fetuses and babies, and the Environmental Protection Agency has been criticized for failing to consider the cumulative effect of hormone-disrupting chemicals that Americans are routinely exposed to.
For more information about Bisphenol A and the other ubiquitous hormone-disrupting chemical of the moment, phthalates, see The Daily Green's How to Avoid Bisphenol A and Phthalates.
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