April 17, 2008

JPMA Gives BPA Bottle-Making Self A Big Safety Hug

Ah, glad that's all cleared up. The Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association, whose members make the Bisphenol-A-laden baby bottles, and the BPA epoxy-lined formula cans, have created a valuable, informative website, babybottle.org, to reassure anyone who's listening that bottles containing BPA are as safe as ever.

Specifically, babybottle.org cites the FDA's safety declaration. That's the same FDA which testified before Congress that it excluded "hundreds" of BPA studies and instead relied on two chemical industry studies to make its conclusions.

And the JPMA heartily supports last summer's National Toxicology Program panel report [the one written by the chemical industry consultants], which said there's not been enough research done to consider BPA a serious health risk to infants. See that? NO serious risk!

You are all free to nuzzle back up to the bosom of the plastics industry that does so much for us. At least until Canada bans the stuff like Europe did.

"Plastic Baby Bottles Are Safe." [babybottle.org]
Previously this week: NIH Panel revises report: BPA? Oh yeah, that sh*t'll kill ya

read the JPMA's accompanying press release after the jump:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 17, 2008

Media Contact:
Yarissa Reyes [snip]


Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association Supports Safety of Baby Bottles

MT. LAUREL, N.J. – The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA), which represents the leading manufacturers of baby bottles in the United States, stands by the scientific research indicating that plastic baby bottles are safe. JPMA supports the rigorous scientific evaluation process of the National Toxicology Program’s (NTP) Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction. Following an expert panel review last year, this week’s release of the draft NTP Brief on bisphenol A (BPA) affirms that there are no serious or high level concerns for adverse effects of BPA on human reproduction and development.

Found in a wide variety of products, lightweight and shatter-resistant polycarbonate plastic has been the material of choice in baby bottles for 25 years. The potential for exposure to bisphenol A from bottles has been extensively examined and the results reviewed by government bodies worldwide that have responsibility for assessing the safety of consumer products.

“The findings in NTP’s draft report provide reassurance that consumers can continue to use products made from BPA,” said Robert Waller, Jr., CAE, president of JPMA. “Sound and respected scientific research has consistently shown there is no danger to consumers when products are used as intended.”

There is significant data available on the safety of BPA. From baby bottles and food packaging, to bicycle helmets and eyeglass lenses, as well as incubators and components of many life-saving medical devices, polycarbonate plastic makes everyday lives better and safer.

JPMA encourages parents to contact the bottle manufacturer if they have a question or concern. Most of the manufacturers have toll-free numbers and many have information posted on their Web sites.

JPMA is committed to educating the juvenile product industry and the public about the safety of polycarbonate baby bottles. To that end, JPMA has established a Web site, www.babybottle.org, as a resource for anyone looking to learn more about the safety of plastic baby bottles. For more information on the safety of juvenile products, please visit: www.jpma.org.

The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association exists to advance the interests, growth and well-being of the juvenile products industry through advocacy, public relations, information sharing, and business development opportunities.

For more information about the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, contact the executive office at 15000 Commerce Parkway, Suite C, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054; phone: 856-638-0420; fax: 856-439-0525, email: jpma@ahint.com, or visit: www.jpma.org.

10 Comments

You're kidding right? This is a sarcastic joke, right?

BPA is responsible for early onset puberty in children. We threw out our entire Avent bottle collection last night and are replacing it with BornFree today.

http://www.buzzbishop.com/blog/2008/04/16/what-to-do-about-bpa-bispehenol-a/

I've just realized that Xavier's tub is a 15-gallon flexible rubber stock tank (thanks, Tractor Supply!)--from which he loves to drink. I wonder what galvanized metal emits?

This really sucks, you know? No more drinking from the garden hose. And how about those rubber-coated baby spoons? Are they on the list? Pacifiers (not that we used one)?

Gaah!

[pacifiers are silicon, and fine. BPA is in polycarbonate, so it's not all plastics. -ed.]

Nalgene just announced that they won't be making bottles with BPA any longer.

We've used Avent bottles for many, many years for food storage, but have never heated them. They're unsurpassed for convenience and being amazingly leakproof.

Brains still working fine, thank you, and there was no early puberty in this family. But we've never used them for baby feeding, or to heat formula. (Don't ask, just let it slide.)

Curator beat me to it, but here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/18/business/18plastic.html?_r=1&ref=business&oref=slogin

According to the news, Health Canada is probably going to announce a BPA ban today.

The announcement from Health Canada has just come out. There's already an article on the Globe and Mail's website.
Bisphenol A is 'dangerous' substance, Ottawa says

Buzz,

You are mistaken. BPA does not cause early onset puberty in girls. Fred vom Saal's experiment on 14 mice back in the 90's (the study that started it all) theorized that it caused early onset puberty in mice. Vom Saal didn't realize that housing developing female mice with adult males causes... early onset of puberty. This is exactly what he did and at least one reason is one reason his work hasn't been successfully replicated.

For the record, early onset puberty is defined as menses at age 8 or below. The average age of puberty in American women is 12.8 years and has remained this age for many, many years.

[wait, so the entire BPA-puberty connection is based off of one poorly designed study that no one in 15 years has been able to reproduce? I'd be more likely to accede that laymen overdetermine when making their statement about BPA, but without a citation, I'm very skeptical of a claim that the leading expert in BPA research built the field on a basically flawed study. Try again. -ed.]

Put it another way, ed.

There have been over seven risk assessments carried out since 2000 in almost every corner of the developed world, some government funded, some industry funded. All of them have rejected the BPA as endocrine disruptor thesis. In the EU where the precautionary principle is enshrined in law they not only found that there was no evidence that BPA posed a threat to humans, but they actually increased the Tolerable Daily Intake (DTI)

Something to bear in mind about the NPT, for reasons I admit don't understand, is that they have changed their requirement that studies they review must be reproducible. The "some concern' they registered about the effect of BPA on neural and behavioral effects on developing animals and possibly humans is based on two studies. Two studies that have not been systematically replicated. That's why they have "Some concern". There are five levels of concern the NTP can express. "some concern" is right in the middle. It means they just don't know enough to say one way or the other. The report is worth reading because it also expressed negligible concern for some of the wild claims one hears about the effects of BPA on fertility, etc.

There are a number of different issues with these studies but the most important are that human beings (and other primates) metabolize BPA completely. The BPA is combined with a sugar molecule in the liver with renders it harmless. It then gets evacuated in our urine.

Rodents partially metabolize BPA in the liver but then it goes back to the stomach to be broken down more. It can be absorbed into the blood stream through the lining of the stomach and enter the blood stream where it does seem to have some effect on the health of the rat.

The other is a dispute about how you measure the BPA in human tissue. There was one study where unmetabolized BPA was supposedly found in human tissues BUT when other researchers tried to study the same thing they didn't detect any unmetabolized BPA mainly because a better test had become available and it seems the tissue testing technique used first study wasn't sensitive enough to detect the difference between BPA and BPA-gluc (BPA with the sugar molecule)

Finally there is the issue of how the BPA was administered in the animal experiments. Researchers gave the rodents BPA subcutaneously in some studies - which is useful to understand what unmetabolized BPA might do if it got into blood and tissues BUT this is not the way we come into contact with BPA so it's questionable how much you can extrapolate from them

I'm pasting in references some of the risk assessments published on BPA over the past decade. There is also a Norwegian study about the potential for BPA to leech. There is one from the NSF done in California last year which I've read about but don't have the reference to. Apologies in advance for not hyperlinking them - presumably you can cut and paste. I also don't have the link to the FDA study but if anyone is interested I will dig it up.


January 2007 - European Food Safety Authority [link]

On the basis of comprehensive risk assessments of BPA exposure carried out since 2002, the European Food Safety Authority decides to actually *raise* the level of the Tolerable Daily Intake of BPA 0.01 mg per kg to 0.05 mg per kg.

January 2006 - German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment [link]

From the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR, Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung) “Following careful checking of all the studies, in particular those studies in the low dose range of bisphenol A, the BfR carried out a scientific assessment of the results and came to the conclusion that the presence of bisphenol A in polycarbonate bottles poses no health risk to babies and infants during normal use.”

2006 - The Norwegian Food Safety Authority [link, pdf]

The NFSA assesses the amount of BPA transferred from baby bottles and concludes that “even under extreme conditions and scenarios the amount of BPA released from polycarbonate baby bottles is clearly below the TDI (tolerable daily intake for babies”, and “In particular it can be ruled out that the observed increase of BPA release with aging of the bottle may extend to levels which could be of health concern.”


November 2005 – The Japanese Ministry of the Environment

The Japanese Ministry of the Environment finds that PBA is not a threat to humans or to the environment – research conducted by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, a public research organization affiliated with the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.


November 2005 - US Food and Drug Administration

A statement from the US Food and Drug Administration on the safety of food contact products made from polycarbonate concluded “based on all the evidence available at this time, FDA sees no reason to change its long-held position that current uses with food are safe.”

August 2004 – The Harvard Center for Risk Assessment [link, pdf]

The Harvard Center for Risk Assessment finds that the “evidence for low-dose effects (of BPA exposure) is very weak.”

2003 – The European Union (adopted in 2006) [link, pdf]

The European Union publishes a comprehensive risk assessment report form ALL sources and finds that “The CSTEE agrees with the conclusion of the RAR [Risk Assessment Report] that there is no convincing evidence that low doses of bisphenol A[BPA] have effects on developmental parameters in offspring.”

June 2002 Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (CSTEE) [link, pdf]

Scientific Committee on Toxicity, Ecotoxicity and the Environment (CSTEE) publishes a risk Assessment of Bisphenol A on Human Health finds “a number of high quality studies on the reproductive and developmental effects of bisphenol A are already available and do not support low-dose effects”.

[thanks for copying in the contents of the JPMA's babybottle.org site, as well as quoting the Cato Institute's 2001 theory that a conspiracy of leftwing anti-chemical activists have taken over the EPA and the NTP and have cowed the brave researchers who aren't part of Frederick vom Saal's "cult" into silence over basic issues of the scientific method. If only the liberal media hadn't been so unstoppably all-powerful the last seven years, this story might have gotten out sooner.

Weary sarcasm aside for a minute, I would find criticism from a more non-ideological or disinterested source like stats.org more credible. They noted uncritical media misuse of vom Saal quotes and industry spokespeople, as well as questions about vom Saal's review of studies that counter his own findings. Science is science, but it is also a tool used by interested parties to reinforce their own position. That could be eminence in a field of research or a multi-billion dollar chemical business.

If the case against infant exposure to BPA really rests on two unreproducible studies, then that refutation needs to be made clearly by the industry, the government, and the scientific community. Instead, it seems like pro-BPA folks are manipulating the system and stacking the deck, relying on reflexive and timeworn responses that mirror all too closely previous cases where there were, in fact, health risks--and more importantly, where they risk being found liable for the consequences. -ed.]

Actually, I was referred to all of these studies by Stats.org. I was concerned about it so I rang them and spent a weekend reading the various studies, articles, etc. You should actually go read what Stats has to say about this issue.

The great thing about science is that it stands on its own merits. Yes, everyone comes to the table with baggage but with peer review and further study we get closer to the truth.

The point is the evidence for BPA ban doesn't stand on its own merits. Even the leader of the NTP panel says he does't think there is anything in this report to cause alarm. If you really look at everything there is a growing consensus that BPA *isn't* a problem for very specific reasons which I've tried to summarize.

I don't think there are cabals of either sort. Sure there are people who conspire but that doesn't mean they get anywhere. The thing I do find disingenuous is the suggestion that, say the Harvard Center for Risk Assessment are just shills for the chemical industry or that researchers who are industry funded skew their results or that when vom Saal's work is criticized it's because of industry bias rather than on the basis that is simply isn't very good.

I think the Canadian ban is political opportunism pure and simple and before you ask, the only axe I have to grind is people who take advantage of parental fear for their own advantage.

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