Exposed: How willful blindness keeps BPA on shelves and contaminating our bodies
EHN.org investigation finds regulatory push to discredit independent evidence of harm while favoring pro-industry science despite significant shortcomings.
We all are exposed daily to bisphenol-A (BPA) and other bisphenols – estrogen-like substances added to food can liners, paper receipts and plastic containers.
That exposure, according to research that regulators are willfully ignoring, is increasingly linked to harmful health impacts ranging from birth defects to cancer.
A year-long investigation by Environmental Health News finds that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stacked the deck against such findings from independent scientists studying BPA – as well as many compounds used in "BPA-free" products.
Hundreds of emails obtained via the Freedom of Information Act and dozens of interviews show that science is being perjured:
- FDA and industry scientists continue to use decades-old study methods that fail to detect effects known to be associated with BPA exposure;
- Emails between federal employees suggest an effort to ignore evidence of harm;
- Biased data interpretation methods by the FDA;
- Sharp disagreement between the FDA regulators and health officials at the National Institutes of Health on the safety of BPA and what messages are relayed to the public.
Significantly, the FDA's maneuvering to keep BPA unregulated extends a similar "get out of jail free" card to thousands of other suspected hormone-altering compounds.
"Their failure to use modern science in examining the risk of BPA and other bisphenols leaves the health of the American public at significant risk," said Pete Myers, founder and chief scientist at Environmental Health Sciences, which publishes Environmental Health News.
Environmental Health News is an award-winning nonpartisan organization dedicated to driving science into public discussion and policy. Read the four-part series below, as well as a comic strip interpretation of the investigation.
And follow the fallout from this investigation on Twitter at the hashtag: #ExposedBPA
American industry, aided by federal regulators, is conducting a large-scale, consequential experiment with our hormones and the developing brains and reproductive systems of our children.
The ongoing health concerns and mixed messaging over the chemical BPA
Is a federal study of BPA contaminated by questionable motives, methods?
"The government keeps testing chemicals for safety using the same old approaches developed 50 years ago"
What will it take to rid our store shelves of BPA and its equally hazardous cousins?
Follow up coverage
Researchers say federal agencies use highly inaccurate tests to estimate exposure to BPA—findings that extend to multiple other harmful chemicals that get into our bodies