FDA’s Failure to Regulate BPA Draws Lawsuit

The Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) filed a lawsuit yesterday against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over the agency’s failure to regulate <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/toxic_substances">bisphenol A—BPA—said the SFGate.

BPA is a highly ubiquitous polycarbonate plastics chemical that is known to imitate the hormone estrogen, acts as an anti-androgen, and is also known to affect sexual development and processes, especially in developing fetuses, infants, and children. The chemical has been linked in hundreds of studies to a wide array of adverse and significant health effects.

The NRDC filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit saying that it has been two years since it first petitioned the FDA to make BPA illegal, wrote the SFGate. According to the lawsuit, the FDA was mandated to “approve, deny, or otherwise” respond within 180 days, this, according to FDA rules, pointed out the SFGate. The petition was filed in October 2008.

After long maintaining that BPA is safe in consumer products and at current levels, the FDA recently said it had “some concern” regarding the chemical and was going to use about $30 million in federal stimulus funds to study BPA’s effects on the human body. The report, being conducted with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is expected in late 2011.

“More research is always welcome and interesting, but at some point you have to say, ‘We know enough,’ and take action. We’ve reached that point,” said Sarah Janssen, senior scientist at the NRDC’s Environment and Public Health program in San Francisco, quoted the SFGate.

Industry has long maintained that scientists and consumer advocates are exaggerating the adverse effects of the plastic-hardening, estrogenic chemical, continually citing two industry studies. But, pointed out the LA Times, previously, over 200 peer-reviewed studies have linked BPA to health problems. Regardless, the American Chemistry Council—an industry trade group—cited more studies and last year, the Council spent over $5 million to influence policy makers, noted ABC Local earlier this week.

Regardless, many hundreds of studies—including the 200 peer-reviewed studies—have linked BPA to cardiovascular disease, intestinal problems, brain cell connection interference, increased risks of reproductive and immune system diseases and disorders, problems with liver function testing, interruptions in chemotherapy treatment, premature puberty, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and erectile dysfunction and male sexual problems.

In urine tests, BPA is found in the overwhelming majority of Americans, more than 93 percent and, significantly, the chemical is found in 90 percent of all newborns. As a matter of fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2004, revealed that the highest levels of those affected were six to 11 year olds and that BPA was also found in “amniotic fluid, breast milk, and umbilical cord blood,” said the SFGate.

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