The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to insist that Bisphenol A, or BPA – a carbon-based synthetic compound used in the commercial manufacture of plastics – is safe, despite countless research consistently displaying the opposite view.
Not to be swayed, the FDA has recently released a study they claim will affirm their standing on the safety of BPA. Critics of the study, however, find themselves unanimously unconvinced.
In this study, scientists at the FDA exposed newborn rats, as well as rats still in the womb, to low and high doses of BPA. While the rats that were exposed to high doses experienced dramatic symptoms – such as abnormal female reproductive development and altered hormone levels – the rats that were exposed to lower doses experienced no such effects.
The FDA’s argument is that the lower-dosed rats were exposed to approximately the same amounts of BPA that humans are routinely exposed to. They are convinced that the fact that the low-dosed rats suffered no ill effects further proves that BPA is not dangerous in the amounts that humans ingest on a daily basis.
This conclusion, however, is flawed for a number of reasons. Not least of which is the discovery that all of the rats used in the study were exposed to BPA. This means that both the control group – the group of rats that are intended to be completely unexposed- and the intentionally exposed rats were both found to have trace amounts of BPA in their bloodstreams. Many scientists that are not affiliated with the study believe that this contamination greatly alters the results.
One of these unaffiliated scientists, Laura Vandenberg of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, openly admits that the study is flawed. In response to the report that all of the rats had been exposed to BPA, she responded, “That’s a problem. When you have contamination like that, you cannot just look at the higher-dose groups and make conclusions.” Both she and many other scientists believe that the study should have been discarded as soon as the contamination was discovered.
The authors of the study that reported the contamination, however, disagree. They argue that their results were not affected by the contamination, due to the fact that neither group of rats suffered any ill effects with the lower doses of BPA in their systems. The source of the additional exposure of BPA to the control group of rats is yet to be identified.
Another glaring flaw with this study is that it was limited to a mere 90 days –a startlingly small time frame that leaves the researchers unable to determine if the low-dosed rats will develop symptoms of their exposure later in life.
In contrast to the FDA’s conclusions, many recent animal studies conducted at universities have linked low-dose BPA exposure to a myriad of detrimental health concerns, such as mammary gland abnormalities, altered male and female sexual development, changes in metabolism, insulin, and glucose, impaired learning and memory, increased stress, and increased incidences of obesity.
While the FDA would like us to believe that the doses of BPA that most are exposed to on a daily basis is harmless, years of conflicting research and results should convince us otherwise.
Ciara is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.