More Fake News about BPA | Citizens Against Government Waste
The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

More Fake News about BPA

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


For years, physicians, nutritionists, and behavioral scientists have been telling us that too many children are obese, eat too many foods high in fat and sugar, and are too sedentary.  A May 29, 2018 Washington Post article noted that “the average American child spends five to eight hours in front of a digital screen.”  We are not alone in our nation’s children living a much more inactive lifestyle then their parents did just 30 years ago.  Studies in the UK found that children are playing outside for just an average of four hours, compared to 8.2 hours that their parents did when they were children.  It would seem the answer to solving this problem is to encourage children to play more outside and to take away their electronic toys and phones.

But here’s another angle to this conundrum, funded by federal grants and founded on hysteria.  In his new book, “Sicker, Fatter, Poorer: The Urgent Threat of Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals to Our Health and Future … And What We Can Do About It,” Dr. Leonardo Trasande writes, “You may have wondered about the dramatic increase in obesity and diabetes across American society over the past couple of decades.  Study after study has shown that these increases can be directly tied to chemicals in our food supply, environment, and household and personal care products.”  In particular, Dr. Trasande said so-called “hormone disrupting” chemicals found in a variety of everyday items, such as bisphenol A (BPA), are causing children to be sicker, fatter, and poorer.

Citizens Against Government Waste has been following the BPA issue for a while, so the release of this book caught our attention.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which approved BPA’s use in the early 1960s and continues to regulate it, has repeatedly stated that it is safe to use in food contact items, such as cans or plastic bottles.  The largest-ever study conducted on the chemical, the “Consortium Linking Academic and Regulatory Insights on BPA Toxicity (CLARITY-BPA), will be finished by the end of 2019.  The consortium is composed of scientists from three federal agencies and academic researchers from across the country.  The FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) conducted the CORE study and academic grantees, with funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), are studying various health endpoints. 

Dr. Trasande and several grantees from the CLARITY study have received funding from NIEHS over the years to study BPA.  According to NIEHS, $30 million has been invested in this kind of research.  On one hand, federal money has been spent by the FDA to oversee and regulate BPA, which has declared it safe to use for years, while on the other hand, NIH has continually funded grantees to undermine the FDA’s results.  CAGW first expressed concern about these dueling agencies and wrote a letter to Congress in 2014.

Crucial features of the mammoth CLARITY study are that the BPA exposure conditions for the research rats used in the CORE and academic components are identical.  The grantees also received blinded CORE study samples and therefore do not know which rats have been exposed to BPA, thus eliminating any bias.  When the results of the peer-reviewed CORE study were released on September 13, 2018, NCTR principal investigator Barry Delclos, Ph.D. said that, “the plastic additive BPA isn't a health threat” and that low doses of BPA “did not elicit clear, biologically plausible adverse events.”  The results from the grantees and the CORE study will be integrated in the fall of 2019.

CAGW hopes that CLARITY will clarify the safety of BPA and halt the battle over the long-proven safe chemical within the federal government on BPA’s safety.  While researchers and physicians like Dr. Trasande should be allowed to study BPA as much as they want, they can do it with private funds.  The Trump administration should stop the dueling agency syndrome and this obvious waste of tax dollars

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