Friday, April 18, 2008

Chemical in Plastic May Harm Human Growth

A federal report finds "some concern" that fetuses, babies and children are at risk from bisphenol A. But plastics industry officials see no serious risk
Go to Los Angeles Times original
A controversial, estrogen-like chemical in plastic could be harming the development of children's brains and reproductive organs, a federal health agency concluded in a report released Tuesday.

The National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, concluded that there was "some concern" that fetuses, babies and children were in danger because bisphenol A, or BPA, harmed animals at low levels found in nearly all human bodies.

An ingredient of polycarbonate plastic, BPA is one of the most widely used synthetic chemicals in industry today. It can seep from hard plastic beverage containers such as baby bottles, as well as from liners in cans containing food and infant formula.

The federal institute is the first government agency in the U.S. to conclude that low levels of BPA could be harming humans. Its findings will be used to help regulators at federal and state environmental agencies to develop policies governing its use.

The draft report followed an 18-month review that was fraught with allegations of bias, heated disputes among scientists and the firing of a consulting company with financial ties to the chemical industry.


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