The debate over the chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) has raged for years, with environmental activists continually hyping the risks associated with it. Used to make hard-clear plastics and resins that line food containers such as soda cans or canned fruits and veggies, humans have been exposed to trace levels of the chemical for decades without evidence of any ill effects. And a recent review of the science by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) confirms this reality. It concludes:
EFSA’s comprehensive re-evaluation of bisphenol A (BPA) exposure and toxicity concludes that BPA poses no health risk to consumers of any age group (including unborn children, infants and adolescents) at current exposure levels. Exposure from the diet or from a combination of sources (diet, dust, cosmetics and thermal paper) is considerably under the safe level (the “tolerable daily intake” or TDI).
That’s a pretty strong assurance of safety coming from a government agency that is usually extremely cautious.
This should help put the issue to bed, but unfortunately scaremongering is likely to continue, especially if governments continue to dole out funds to researchers for more studies. BPA has been studied ad nauseam. And rather than add to useful information to the body of research, most government funding appears to support myriad small, poorly designed studies, some of which eventually generate weak associations between the chemical and various health conditions.
These studies don’t prove cause and effect and are largely meaningless, but they do generate headlines that help build public pressure for misguided legislation. For example, members of Congress have introduced federal legislation to ban BPA resins that line food cans, even though such resins are necessary to prevent the development of deadly pathogens in our food supply.
It’s high time that the U.S. government and others stopped funding this sensationalist junk science on BPA. It’s not only a waste of money; it is generating needless fears and misguided public policies.