BPA & Phthalate – Safe like asbestos or tobacco?

Posted on April 20, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

“Similar to the tobacco companies” is how Schade describes the chemical industry’s tactics in defense of plastics, including “hiring scientists to put out questionable studies.”

People worried about chemicals in plastic aren’t just “nervous Nellies,” says Lynn Goldman, a professor of environmental health sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Others, led by the plastic and vinyl industry, say recent reports are nothing but a scare campaign. “It is . . . foolish to ban something that’s safe and has proven itself for decades,” says Allen Blakey, a spokesman for the Vinyl Institute, an industry group. Blakey dismisses the main evidence of harm cited by the anti-plastic camp — a set of studies that involved mostly animal subjects — as “flimsy.”

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis detected BPA in urine samples of nearly 93 percent of 2,517 people who took part in a national health survey from 2003 through 2004.

According to the CDC, women had higher average levels (2.9 micrograms per liter) than men (2.6); children age 6 to 11 had higher levels (4.5) than adults over 20 (2.5). These numbers are not in dispute.

Stopping the media pandemic to focus on real concentrations will require… More science — more studies of short- and long-term effects, new models of interpreting animal research, better testing methods.

The case of BPA and phthalates is “more subtle” than the classic “one chemical, one disease” model, says Baier-Anderson, as in the case of asbestos or tobacco.

We need a new way, she says, to look at how the “simultaneous exposure to low levels of many chemicals throughout our lives can interact with [biological] systems.”

Read full at washingtonpost


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