I’ve seen some estimates that over a billion people have had exposure to BPA and there isn’t proof of anything. So why the big scare? I assume trial lawyers are involved in the fear mongering. That’s a given. But then I saw that last year two reporters from the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel won a George Polk Award– a major journalism honor — for reporting on the “dangers” of BPA. It’s another reminder that there are some perverse incentives for journalists. Dramatic reports on threats to public safety win awards. Reporting that those same threats are overblown and likely egged on by those hoping to make millions of off class-action lawsuits is applauded by no one.
Yes, Mark, brave reporting like yours that breaks the lid off the conspiracy to force BPA-free products on an innocent and gullible public. Now, alas, we’ve been unmasked Scooby Doo style. And we would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you and those pesky kids at The National Review!
[Read on below the fold — including Hemingway’s response in the comments.]
Already the Canadian government had been duped into banning infant bottles made with BPA based on nothing more than the advice of their Department of Health and Department of the Environment. But, as Hemingway understands, the Canadians aren’t real Americans like him. As he insisted indignantly:
I couldn’t find one reliable study that seemed to substantiate any of these dramatic claims about BPA.
And if Hemingway couldn’t find one, then you can be certain they don’t exist. Unless, of course, you spend five minutes on Google Scholar.
In the US, the National Institutes of Health Toxicology Program reported that “we have concluded that the possibility that BPA may affect human development cannot be dismissed.” This based on some 125 peer-reviewed studies analyzing the adverse health risks of BPA exposure.
In the journal Endocrinology a review carried out by Welshons et al. reported that:
BPA has a wide range of significant effects including structural and neurochemical changes throughout the brain associated with behavioral changes, such as hyperactivity, learning deficits, increased aggression, and increased likelihood of drug dependency; abnormalities in sperm production in males and oocytes in females; disruption of hormone production and fertility in both males and females; immune disorders, increased growth rate; and early sexual maturation.
Interestingly, they also point out that those studies rejecting the evidence for biological effects of BPA:
emanate from corporate-funded publications, 100% of which report that BPA causes no significant effects . . . Endocrinologists are well aware of the issue of corporate bias in research, and this issue has recently received considerable attention in articles published in special issues of journals, in a letter we have published, as well as in a review in Scientific American.
For a sample of other studies reporting biological effects of BPA that Hemingway couldn’t find click here.
So, of course, Hemingway is right to focus on the evils of trial lawyers and “gotcha” journalists over the health concerns on BPA. However, he should have added “publicly funded scientific research” to his list of bugbears and hobgoblins. If it hadn’t been for them he never would have had to concern himself with the dangers of BPA in the first place. The danger wouldn’t exist because no one would know about it and he could remain blissfully ignorant. Instead, given the weight of scientific concern, he is simply ignorant.