By Ethan A. Huff
Shielding from the public its true allegiances to Big Industry over the people has never been much of a concern at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where public policy is continually crafted in the interests of chemical and pharmaceutical corporations, with blatant disregard and even contempt for public health. And a new faux-study on the plastics chemical bisphenol-A (BPA) recently released by the agency is no exception, as it arrogantly declares the chemical to be safe despite copious scientific evidence proving otherwise.
The study, which was published in Oxford Journals’ Toxicological Sciences, claims that only very high doses of BPA are dangerous, and that the “low levels” in common circulation through plastic bottles, thermal paper receipts, tin can linings and other sources are not a threat. But the study was so poorly conducted, and laboratory conditions so contaminated, that the findings “[border] on scientific misconduct,” according to one scientist who participated in a conference call with the FDA last summer.
FDA sanctions phony study in lab where ‘controls’ were also exposed to BPA
During this call, officials from both the FDA and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) tried to warn the researchers working on the study that their laboratory was contaminated. In essence, both groups of test subjects, which in this particular study were rats, had come into contact with BPA, which means it would be impossible to make an accurate assessment of the effects of BPA exposure.
But the researchers, who hailed from the National Center for Toxicological Research in Arkansas, ignored all of this and proceeded to complete the study anyway, gaining access to a prominent research journal in the process. And now the honest elements within the scientific community are having to pick up the pieces in order to protect the public from this FDA-sanctioned deception.
“It’s basic science,” said Gail S. Prins, a professor of physiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago who participated in last year’s conference call with the research team in question. “If your controls are contaminated, you’ve got a failed experiment and the data should be discarded. I’m baffled that any journal would even publish this.”
FDA ‘study’ targets legitimate, taxpayer-funded research on BPA harm
The release of the FDA’s completely misguided study on BPA just so happens to coincide with an ongoing research project known as “CLARITY-BPA,” a $32 million taxpayer-funded inquiry into the safety of BPA. This legitimate study, which builds upon more than 1,000 other published studies verifying low-level BPA exposure to be harmful, contradicts the FDA’s affirmative position on the chemical, which seems to be the impetus behind the FDA’s junk study.
“The FDA is essentially preempting our findings,” added Prins, suggesting that the FDA’s new study is a direct attack on honest science, as quoted by Mother Jones. “Right now, people are being told that BPA is harmless. As the CLARITY data trickles out over the next few years, the public is just going to be confused.”
It is common for independent studies that buck industry safety claims — Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini’s study on GMO corn and Roundup causing tumors in mammals is just one example — to be falsely accused of the type of scientific misconduct now being perpetrated by the FDA with regard to the alleged safety of BPA. But because the FDA is backing the industry on this one, few will bat an eye about this gross affront to honest science.
This is “[a]nother instance of the FDA jumping into bed with the very industry it is [supposed] to regulate,” wrote one Mother Jones commenter about the situation. “Short of conclusive peer review the FDA should not promote flawed data as the final word.”
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