How Does the FDA Know What Is Safe to Eat or Buy If It Doesn’t Define Safe?
More than 90 percent of Americans carry residues of the chemical BPA in our bodies, according to the Centers for Disease Control. We encounter the chemical through every day products such as plastic water bottles, canned food, and ATM receipts, and this steady exposure poses significant risks. Independent scientific studies show that BPA interferes with estrogen and alters the development of the brain, prostate, and breast tissue. The evidence is so strong that 11 states have begun to regulate BPA.
The Food and Drug Administration, however, has delayed taking action on BPA for more than five years—effectively leaving consumers to believe it is safe. Yet when public health organizations ask the agency to explain why it hasn’t protected Americans from this harmful chemical, the FDA stonewalls. NRDC recently had to sue the FDA just to make it comply with our Freedom of Information Act request for material on the agency’s BPA review.
It shouldn’t take a lawsuit for the public to find out what government officials think about health risks posed by consumer products. But as detailed in an exposé by Barry Estabrook in the latest edition of NRDC’s OnEarth Magazine, the agency repeatedly fails to protect Americans from known hazards. Not only does it discount the weight of scientific evidence on issues ranging from antibiotic use to raise livestock to mercury contamination in seafood. But it also has refuses to share how it determines something is free of harm. Read more.
Photo: Lisa Beebe