ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Health Tip: Anticipating Acupuncture
Acupuncture May Trigger Natural Painkiller
Cranberries May Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Fall Sports Peak Time for Lower Leg Damage
CANCER
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Tanning Beds Shown To Raise Cancer Risk, Study Says
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
CAREGIVING
Few Hospitals Embracing Electronic Health Record Systems
When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient
Robots May Come to Aging Boomers' Rescue
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
High Blood Fat Levels Common in Americans
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
COSMETIC
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
DIET, NUTRITION
Iced Teas Pose High Risk of Kidney Stones
More Calcium And Dairy Products in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Gene Explains How High-Fructose Diets Lead to Insulin Resistance
Global Warming Biggest Health Threat of 21st Century, Experts Say
Skin Woes Take Toll on U.S. Combat Troops
EYE CARE, VISION
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
Don't Lose Sight of Halloween Safety
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
FITNESS
Fliers Can Keep Blood Clots at Bay
Exercise 30 Minutes a Day? Who Knew!
Be Healthy, Spend Less
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Winter's Bitter Cold Poses Health Dangers
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Low Vitamin D Levels Linked to Heart Disease
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Music May Temper Pain in Preemies
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
SENIORS
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
Seniors Cope With Sleep Loss Better Than Young Adults
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Lifting Weights Can Ease Arm Swelling in Breast Cancer Survivors
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
Add your Article

FDA Faulted for Stance on Chemical in Plastics

By Steve Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- A U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel agreed Friday that the agency had erred in August when it said that a chemical widely used in baby bottles and other plastic packaging for foods and beverages posed no health risks.

On Wednesday, a panel of toxicology experts said the FDA hadn't properly assessed the potential health risks posed by the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), which some studies have linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease and developmental delays in children. The toxicologists said the FDA had relied too heavily on studies funded by the chemical industry to make its decision, and had failed to consider other studies that questioned the safety of BPA.

The panel of toxicologists had been convened by the FDA after the agency ruled that BPA was safe at current exposure levels -- a stance that prompted criticism from some lawmakers and consumer groups.

On Friday, the FDA's Science Board, which consists of scientists from academia, government and industry and advises the FDA commissioner, seconded the toxicologists' concerns about the FDA's August ruling. The issue will now go to FDA Commissioner Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach. It's unclear how the FDA might respond, the Washington Post reported.

"Let me be clear: There's no shame for having" your hypothesis disproved, von Eschenbach said during Friday's session, referring to BPA without mentioning it by name, the Dow Jones news service reported.

The FDA's position on BPA has been controversial because it contradicted more than 100 studies, as well as a finding by the U.S. National Toxicology Program, that there was "some concern" that BPA may affect the brain and behavioral development in fetuses, infants and small children, the Post said.

Norris Alderson, associate commissioner for science at the FDA, told Dow Jones that the agency will probably start research early in 2009 to determine the toxic effects of BPA on babies less than 1 month old. Babies are considered the most susceptible group to BPA's effects. It's unclear when those studies would be done, the news service said.

In September, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association said that people with high levels of BPA were more likely to have heart disease, including heart attack, or diabetes. High BPA levels increased the risk for these diseases by 39 percent, the researchers reported.

Speaking at Friday's hearing, Steven G. Hentges, of the American Chemistry Council's Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group, said: "The Science Board is receiving many diverse viewpoints on bisphenol A. But the common ground we all share is a commitment to do what's right to protect the health and safety of American consumers -- adults and children alike."

Hentges called the FDA's August draft assessment "consistent with the conclusions of other scientific and government bodies worldwide, such as the European Food Safety Authority, Health Canada, the European Union, and NSF International, all of which completed or updated their assessments this year. We rely on their conclusions, which are that polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins are safe for use in food contact applications."

Earlier this month, Canada moved to ban plastic baby bottles containing BPA. Several U.S. states are considering restricting BPA use.

Commenting on Friday's developments, Dr. Hugh S. Taylor, director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Yale University School of Medicine, said: "While the dangers of BPA exposure are far from definitively proven, the clear and mounting evidence that BPA is very likely to be harmful should not lead to a statement from the FDA that there is no concern. The panel's recommendation was misleading and gave people false reassurance. Decisions that may affect the health of the next several generations (due to the effects on the fetus as well) should be made cautiously and with input from all interested parties. The FDA is to be commended for this re-evaluation."

More information

To learn more about BPA, visit Environment California.



SOURCES: Hugh S. Taylor, M.D., director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, and professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn.; American Chemistry Council, news release, Oct. 31, 2008; Washington Post; Dow Jones

Last Updated: Nov. 01, 2008

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