ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
When Healing Becomes a Commodity
Cranberries May Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Fall Sports Peak Time for Lower Leg Damage
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
CANCER
Supplements Might Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Herb May Counter Liver Damage From Chemo
CAREGIVING
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome as Deadly as Ever
Many Hospital Patients Can't ID Their Doctors
U.S. Mental Health Spending Rises, But Many Still Left Out
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
DIABETES
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
DIET, NUTRITION
Myrrh May Lower High Cholesterol
Mediterranean Diet May Help Prevent Depression
Proven Strategies for Avoiding Colds and the Flu
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Common Pesticide Tied to Development Delays in Kids
Accumulated Lead May Affect Older Women's Brains
Exposure to 9/11 Fumes Tied to Chronic Headaches
EYE CARE, VISION
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
Music Can Help Restore Stroke Patients' Sight
Unconscious Learning: In the Eye of the Beholder?
FITNESS
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Autumn Chores Often Hazardous
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Psychiatric Drugs Might Raise Cardiac Death Risk
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
A Little Alcohol May Help the Heart: Studies
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Quick Orthopedic Repair Can Save Young Shoulders
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Treat Kids to a Safe Halloween
MEN'S HEALTH
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Countdown to Hair Loss
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
SENIORS
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
Keeping Mentally Active Seems To Keep The Brain Active
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
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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