(NaturalNews) In spite of the fact that the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) has been shown in laboratory studies to affect the endocrine system, the FDA continues to call it safe, saying that its presence in infant formula should not be cause for concern.
BPA is used to make plastics hard and transparent, such as in water or baby bottles, and to make resins to line cans, including those used to hold infant formulas. In animal studies, the chemical has been shown to mimic the effects of the hormone estrogen, potentially leading to developmental and reproductive defects.
Because the chemical is so prevalent and accumulates in the body, 93 percent of people in the United States contain BPA in their bodies. This, combined with a recent report that many infant formulas likely contain BPA that has leached from coated metal containers, has caused many health advocates to criticize the FDA's position on the chemical.
"BPA acts like an estrogen, and infants are being exposed to this hormone-like chemical at a particularly sensitive time, when estrogen-dependent development is occurring rapidly," said Shanna Swan, director of the Center for Reproductive Epidemiology at the University of Rochester, New York. "The consensus of a group of scientists recently invited to participate in an National Institutes of Health/Environmental Protection Agency-sponsored conference was that BPA, at levels currently found in people in the United States, has the potential to pose a threat to human health, and that this risk is greatest for the fetus and young infant."
"Current statements by the FDA that BPA is safe are reminiscent of the response of the FDA to new findings concerning Vioxx," said Frederick vom Saal, of the University of Missouri at Columbia. Those warnings "were ignored by FDA officials until a whistle-blower went public that the FDA was unwilling to acknowledge that there was evidence that Vioxx posed a significant threat to human health."