Exposed: How willful blindness keeps BPA on shelves and contaminating our bodies

EHN.org investigation finds regulatory push to discredit independent evidence of harm while favoring pro-industry science despite significant shortcomings.


We all are exposed daily to bisphenol-A (BPA) and other bisphenols – estrogen-like substances added to food can liners, paper receipts and plastic containers.

That exposure, according to research that regulators are willfully ignoring, is increasingly linked to harmful health impacts ranging from birth defects to cancer.

A year-long investigation by Environmental Health News finds that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stacked the deck against such findings from independent scientists studying BPA – as well as many compounds used in “BPA-free” products.

Hundreds of emails obtained via the Freedom of Information Act and dozens of interviews show that science is being perjured:

      • FDA and industry scientists continue to use decades-old study methods that fail to detect effects known to be associated with BPA exposure;
      • Emails between federal employees suggest an effort to ignore evidence of harm;
      • Biased data interpretation methods by the FDA;
      • Sharp disagreement between the FDA regulators and health officials at the National Institutes of Health on the safety of BPA and what messages are relayed to the public.

Significantly, the FDA’s maneuvering to keep BPA unregulated extends a similar “get out of jail free” card to thousands of other suspected hormone-altering compounds.

“Their failure to use modern science in examining the risk of BPA and other bisphenols leaves the health of the American public at significant risk,” said Pete Myers, founder and chief scientist at Environmental Health Sciences, which publishes Environmental Health News.

Environmental Health News is an award-winning nonpartisan organization dedicated to driving science into public discussion and policy. Read the four-part series below, as well as a comic strip interpretation of the investigation.

And follow the fallout from this investigation on Twitter at the hashtag: #ExposedBPA

A scientific stalemate leaves our hormones and health at risk

American industry, aided by federal regulators, is conducting a large-scale, consequential experiment with our hormones and the developing brains and reproductive systems of our children.

Clouded in Clarity: A comic on chemicals & controversy

The ongoing health concerns and mixed messaging over the chemical BPA

On the edge of research honesty

Is a federal study of BPA contaminated by questionable motives, methods?

Deciphering the real message about BPA

“The government keeps testing chemicals for safety using the same old approaches developed 50 years ago”

Toward a BPA-free future

What will it take to rid our store shelves of BPA and its equally hazardous cousins? SOURCE

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‘Slow Death by Rubber Duck’ book sheds light on everyday exposure to toxic chemicals

The new 10th anniversary edition of the book ‘Slow Death by Rubber Duck’ examines health impacts and calls for stronger regulations against toxic chemicals in Canada and around the world.

“Bruce and I poisoned ourselves so you don’t have to,” joked Rick Smith, speaking at the launch of the 10th anniversary edition of the book Slow Death by Rubber Duck: How the Toxicity of Everyday Life Affects Our Health in Vancouver on Wednesday.

Ten years ago, Smith and co-author Bruce Lourie set out to write a book about the insidious, invisible toxic chemicals found in the products consumers handle every day, from shampoo and shaving cream to non-stick frying pans.

They took an unconventional approach, and decided to become guinea pigs themselves.

Through a dozen experiments, Smith and Lourie examined the impacts of chemicals including Teflon, triclosan, and bisphenol A — better known as BPA — on their own bodies.

They sat in a new car for six hours to measure levels of volatile organic compounds, such as benzene. They slathered themselves in products containing phthalates and parabens. Lourie ate tuna for a day to see if it would lead to higher levels of mercury in his body.

Across the board, Smith and Lourie measured increased toxins in their bodies.

“If we took the science related to these toxic chemicals seriously, this would be a huge societal priority,” said Smith, who is also executive director of the Broadbent Institute, an independent research organization founded by former NDP leader Ed Broadbent that promotes democracy, equality and sustainability. “We’ve created an enormous problem for ourselves that’s at the root of a lot of the diseases our families experience.” MORE

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