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Rats, Humans and the Risks of BPA

Op-Eds & Articles

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Rats, Humans and the Risks of BPA

Cheers to the Journal for your editorial "Baby Bottle Red Alert" (Jan. 30) on
bisphenol A. On Jan. 27 the Cascade Policy
Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute jointly released a study
which points out that consumers—including children—are exposed to BPA at levels
that are 100 to 1,000 times lower than the Environmental Protection Agency's
estimated safe exposure levels. Scientific panels around the world—in Japan, the
European Union, Canada, Norway, France and elsewhere—have ruled that BPA poses
no significant risks to consumers. Yet many people are afraid because the Food
and Drug Administration recently expressed "some concern" related to a few
studies indicating that BPA is "weakly estrogenic" to rodents. Unlike rodents,
humans metabolize and pass BPA quickly, limiting endocrine effects.

In any case, the simple fact that a substance might be "weakly estrogenic"
isn't reason to ban it. If it were, we need to ban soy, peas, beans and a host
of healthy foods. These foods contain so-called "endocrine mimicking" substances
called phytoestrogens, but they are far more potent than BPA. According to a
1999 National Academy of Sciences study, exposure to natural phyto estrogens is
100,000 to one million times higher than exposure to estrogen-mimicking
substances found in BPA, and they are safe. It appears that BPA is less
dangerous than soy milk. And it surely is safer than giving children glass
bottles, as some greens recommend, that can break and leave dangerous pieces of
glass in places where babies may crawl.