Remember all the stories you've seen questioning the safety of bisphenol A? Did you see NBC's Today show feature that urged parents to throw away polycarbonate bottles? Did you read the award-winning Milwaukee Journal Sentinel special report on the long-term hazards of BPA and other chemicals?
Now, it seems, the tide is turning in favor of the chemical industry's position that low levels of BPA are safe.
If you're not confused enough already, prepare to be completely flummoxed. Health Canada recently released three studies that confirm the safety of the low levels of BPA found in bottled water, powdered infant formula, and baby foods in glass jars with metal lids.
At this point you're wondering, isn't this the same Health Canada that is already drafting regulations to ban polycarbonate baby bottles? Why yes, it is.
Meanwhile in California, the state's Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee also recently weighed in on BPA safety. The panel which decides whether chemicals appear on the state's list of toxic chemicals ruled unanimously that BPA does not belong on the list.
Good news for polycarbonate, right? Not so fast. The endorsement might not have much impact on the bigger debate about BPA. Even Dorothy Burk, chairwoman of the California committee that voted in favor of BPA, said after the vote: I think if I had a baby, I probably would try to use glass [instead of polycarbonate baby bottles].
What's the lesson? Here's one possibility: If adults can pump insecticides and weed killers onto their lawns, and all manner of chemicals, additives and unhealthy junk into their food, you're not going to tell them they can't drink water from polycarbonate sports drink bottles.
But when the issue shifts to involve children's safety, the debate changes. The precautionary principle is winning the war when it comes to baby products.