The head of a Canadian government team studying the safety of bisphenol A has been reassigned, according to Toronto's Globe & Mail. Health Canada is investigating claims that Mark Richardson, manager of its contaminated-sites division, was biased in favor of the chemical. According to the story, Richardson got into trouble because of some remarks he made at a medical conference.
He indicated at the conference that he personally didn't think bisphenol A presented a danger, extolled the virtues of its use in dentistry and dismissed possible health threats posed by exposures to the substance, comparing it to eating tofu. The Globe and Mail raised questions about Dr. Richardson's objectivity yesterday morning with Health Canada. Shortly afterward, Health Minister Tony Clement's office asked for an investigation into Dr. Richardson's remarks and suitability to work on the review. The investigation will be conducted by the department's chief scientist, Wendy Sexsmith.The story goes on to say that some scientists are concerned about the safety of tofu, too -- something I didn't know. "Tofu, and many products from plants, contain estrogen-like chemicals and there is scientific uncertainty about their possible health effects." I agree that the public should be concerned if regulators show bias -- either in favor of the chemical industry or against it. I wonder, if Richardson's comments had been anti-BPA, would the reaction have been the same?