Monday, August 18, 2008

FDA: Controversial chemical in plastics is safe

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Despite ongoing safety concerns from parents, consumer groups and politicians, a chemical used in baby bottles, canned food and other items is not dangerous, federal regulators said Friday.

Nalgene brand water bottles are made with the chemical bisphenol A, which the FDA has declared safe.

Food and Drug Administration scientists said the trace amounts of bisphenol A that leach out of food containers are not a threat to infants or adults. The plastic-hardening chemical is used to seal canned food and make shatterproof bottles. It is also used in hundreds of household items, ranging from sunglasses to CDs.

The FDA's draft report was greeted with enthusiasm by the American Chemistry Council, which has defended the chemical's safety.

"FDA is the government agency we rely upon to assess food-contact products. They've assessed this issue in great detail and their conclusion is very reassuring," said Steve Henges, an executive director with the council.

But environmental groups were quick to criticize the agency's conclusions, which they said relied on industry-funded studies.

"It's ironic FDA would choose to ignore dozens of studies funded by [the National Institutes of Health] -- this country's best scientists -- and instead rely on flawed studies from industry," said Pete Myers, chief scientist for Environmental Health Sciences.

The FDA report is the latest in a growing pile of assessments of bisphenol, which has been used to package food for decades. Continue Reading >>

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