Apparently, the National Toxicology Program has just reviewed the data on bisphenol A, the chemical that leaches from hard plastic water bottles. Here is the NTP report. The NTP says it is a little – not a lot – worried about it on the basis of limited and inconclusive studies. The NTP used to be more worried about it, as expressed by its Board of Scientific Counselors on June 11. This finding, of course, contradicts the FDA’s more optimistic assessment. According to the Washington Post, a recent study done at Yale finds the chemical to cause problems in the brains of monkeys. The chemical industry says bisphenol A is harmless. Consumer Reports (October 2008, p. 15) says its “tests of a limited number of baby bottles detected only trace amounts of BPA that are below levels likely to post a risk for infants.” But then it recommends baby bottles made BPA-free plastic. This confusing situation elicited a New York Times editorial urging caution: “When in doubt, especially when it comes to children, err on the side of caution.” I agree. While the scientists are fighting this one out, it seems best to practice avoidance.
The FDA is holding a hearing on bisphenol A on September 16. Should be interesting.