Controversial panel will decide whether bisphenol A poses a health risk

Last week, several dozen scientists issued a consensus statement that ubiquitous chemical compound bisphenol A likely poses health and reproductive risks to humans. This week, an expert panel will finalize a report for the U.S. National Toxicology Program on whether humans should indeed try to stay away from BPA; if they say yea, it could be the first step toward federal regulation of the chemical. But some scientists say the report is biased toward the chemical industry and downplays risks. An early draft was written by an outside consultant with ties to Big Chemical; reviewers found nearly 300 factual errors in the draft report; and critics contend that the report cites 71 percent of all industry-financed studies on BPA, but only 30 percent of independent studies, which tend to be more critical of the chemical. Asks a group from Tufts University School of Medicine in a statement, “Is the panel purposefully misrepresenting data or grossly misunderstanding it?” We don’t even know which to hope for.

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