Paul Whaley: Is it really sensible to wait and see?

Comment

Share
Related Topics

In February this year, the US Maryland DC Society of Clinical Oncologists issued the most unequivocal statement yet about bisphenol A, saying: "Make no mistake about it: the research is clear and reproducible in multiple studies. This product is dangerous."

Which is a stark statement to make about a substance widely found in food packaging, linings of tins and drinks, dental sealant and polycarbonate plastics and which biomonitoring studies have found is present in 92 per cent of adults.

Health problems have been discovered in the overwhelming majority of published studies. Animal research has connected bisphenol A (BPA) exposure to a range of health problems including metabolic disorders and obesity, male fertility problems, asthma and intestinal inflammation. Recent human epidemiological research has implicated BPA exposure in elevated risk of heart disease.

Research focusing on the effects of prenatal exposure strongly suggests that exposure to BPA in the womb pre-programmes adult health problems. Nor are these effects being observed at high doses, but at the levels at which people have BPA in their blood – levels which are much lower than that permitted by regulators.

Human data is undoubtedly lacking. There are technical reasons for this: with BPA, the simple ubiquity of exposure presents a serious challenge. Where researchers can easily compare groups of smokers to groups of non-smokers to determine the effects of smoking, with BPA it is very hard to isolate people who are exposed from people who are not. The 20-, 30- or 40-year delay between exposure and health consequence also makes it difficult to identify health effects.

There is also the issue of ethical constraints on research: we can't test potentially harmful chemicals on pregnant women to find out about health effects on their children, making researchers dependent on animal studies.

But, given that almost everyone has BPA in their bodies, and that the children of pregnant women are exposed even before birth to a chemical with demonstrated potential to pre-programme animals for adult illness, the question to ask must be: given the evidence we already have, is it really sensible to wait and see what effects BPA has in people before restricting use of the chemical?

Paul Whaley is communications manager for the Cancer Prevention and Education Society

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: When is a baroness not a baroness? Titles still cause confusion

Guy Keleny
 

CPAC 2015: What I learnt from the US — and what the US could learn from Ukip

Nigel Farage
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?