The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

FDA Study on BPA: Nothing's Changed Since February

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.


You may recall a March 5, WasteWatcher blog, “New FDA Report on BPA: It is Still Safe,” which discussed a pre-peer review draft study released by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) on bisphenol A (BPA), a compound used to produce plastic products and epoxy resins used in food and beverage can linings.  The study, two-years in length and the largest ever conducted on BPA, took place at the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR).

The study, called CLARITY, is part of a cooperative effort among the FDA, the National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NEIHS) at the National Institutes for Health (NIH), and the National Toxicology Program (NTP).  The scientific effort on BPA’s safety has two components: the core study, conducted by NCTR scientists and consistent with federal regulatory and statutory guidelines for toxicity, and grantee studies, led by university researchers.  The grantees are testing a wider range of health endpoints, such as genetic impacts, cardiovascular disease, and behavior.  The grantees, some of which are strong opponents of BPA, are studying animals grown under the same conditions and exposed to the same amount of BPA as the core study.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine Stephen Ostroff, M.D, said in February, when the draft was released, that the “initial review supports our determination that currently authorized uses of BPA continue to be safe for consumers.  The report also builds upon the already extensive data collected in the FDA's 2014 assessment of the safety of BPA.”  The FDA announcement received a lot of push back from environmental groups and researchers, including some of the CLARITY grantees, saying it was “not complete” or “premature.”

On April 26, 2018, a peer review of the draft study was undertaken by an external panel of scientific experts.  If there was a serious problem found with the study by the experts, there would have been glaring headlines declaring the compound was harmful to our health, considering the uproar caused by FDA’s February declaration.  But, there was hardly any news to be found.  In other words, a big yawn.

The next CLARITY meeting will be in August 2018, where the university grantees will present their findings.  Some of the grantees’ studies are still under way or are being reported in scientific journals.  But, this will not be the end.  The core and grantee studies will be combined and a conclusion will be presented a year later, in August 2019.

Meanwhile, the FDA says it is perfectly safe to keep enjoying your canned soups and juices.  I plan to do just that.

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