In a provocatively entitled paper in the current issue of the prestigious journal Toxicological Sciences, Richard M. Sharpe asks “Is It Time to End Concerns over the Estrogenic Effects of Bisphenol A?”
In a word, “yes.” Bisphenol A, or BPA, is an incredibly valuable chemical added to plastics like baby bottles to make them harder and stronger. It’s been in use for many decades. And the greens want to get rid of it because they say it’s dangerous.
Yet as I wrote recently in Investor’s Business Daily,”Countries that have evaluated BPA in the last three years, as Trevor Butterworth of the STATS think tank has documented, include Norway, France, Germany (twice), Australia, New Zealand and Japan. Add to that a World Health Organization collaborative center. Each has found BPA safe.”
(CEI’s Angela Logomasini also recently wrote an excellent paper on BPA safety.)
The lynch mob is after BPA because it’s a weak synthetic estrogen. These chemicals have been under fire since the publication of the 1996 book “Our Stolen Future,” which one review aptly described as “an alarmist tract with a polemical style clearly crafted for its political, not scientific, impact.” (With a foreword by Al Gore, no less.)
Never mind that over 150 plants produce chemicals that also mimic estrogen, many of them foods that contain so much that they’re often recommended as natural hormone replacement therapy. The overall estrogenic effect of natural chemicals, according to Texas A&M University toxicologist Stephen Safe, is 40 million times that of the synthetics. Yes, it’s just the environmentalist saw: “Man-made bad; natural good.”
And so we keep throwing massive amounts of money to scientists to study it more and study it more and study it more.
Recently National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Director Linda Birnbaum announced $30 million in grants for two more years of BPA research, using money from the stimulus act, to “address many of the research gaps” regarding the chemical. Yet over 5,400 medical journal articles have already been published on BPA safety. How many gaps can that leave?
Sharpe comments on poorly done initial studies by an environmental aspect that I described, then writes:
Fundamental, repetitive work on bisphenol A has sucked in tens, probably hundreds, of millions of dollars from government bodies and industry which, at a time when research money is thin on the ground, looks increasingly like an investment with a nil return. All it has done is to show that there is a huge price to pay when initial studies are adhered to as being correct when the second phase of scientific peer review, namely, the inability of other laboratories to repeat the initial studies, says otherwise.
At some point it’s time to say “Enough!” and we passed that point with BPA a long time ago.