Key ingredient in clear plastics called unsafe, except by industry

A chemical widely used in the making of clear plastic products, including baby bottles, food storage containers, and even dental fillings, is the subject of debate between those who say it is safe, namely plastic-industry flacks, and those who say it’s not, namely most everyone else. Many scientists have found evidence that bisphenol A, or BPA, is harmful, even in the small doses leached from plastic during heating or exposure to acidic foods or strong detergents, because it can mimic sex hormones. A new paper in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives surveys 115 studies on BPA and reports that 94 of them show harmful effects. In a wacky coincidence, researchers Frederick vom Saal and Claude Hughes found that all 11 industry-funded studies conclude BPA is nothing to worry about, while 90 percent of the 104 government- or university-funded studies conclude otherwise. California’s legislature is considering a ban on BPA in children’s products; if successful, it would be the first ban on the chemical in the world.