How's that for an alphabet soup headline? But the story itself looks quite serious: the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported yesterday that it may have discovered the reason that the Food and Drug Administration has taken the position that bisphenol A is safe for food packaging. It's because the American Chemistry Council and the American Plastics Council helped do FDA's research. "Although the Food and Drug Administration will not reveal who prepared its draft, the agency's own documents show that the work was done primarily by those with the most to gain by downplaying concerns about the safety of the chemical," according to the report by Susanne Rust and Meg Kissinger. "That includes Stephen Hentges, executive director of the American Chemistry Council's group on bisphenol A, who commissioned a review of all studies of the neurotoxicity of bisphenol A and submitted it to the FDA. The FDA then used that report as the foundation for its evaluation of the chemical on neural and behavioral development." FDA's draft report, released in August, said BPA is safe. According to the Journal Sentinel story, a U.S. House subcommittee is asking FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach about the issue. It quotes from a letter the subcommittee sent to FDA, asking "Specifically, why industry-funded studies provide the basis of your regulatory decisions and why the totality of the science around the chemical continues to be ignored by your science-based agency." The story includes ACC's side, but saves the reaction to the last three paragraphs. It quotes ACC spokeswoman Tiffany Harrington saying that Hentges was acting appropriately in his capacity as an advocate for the plastics industry. "We are a stakeholder just like anyone else," she told the newspaper. "It's part of the process." It certainly makes sense to include input from manufacturers in the regulatory process. After all, they have a lot of expertise. But how can they contribute without commercial interests getting in the way, or without accusations of having a conflict of interest?
Did ACC write FDA's report on BPA
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