The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s motto, located right on their website homepage, is “protecting and promoting your health” however their recent decision not to ban the use of BPA in food products sends the message that they are more concerned with protecting the pockets of the chemical industry than they are making sound rulings that support our health and development.
Sure, that might sound harsh but that’s how I, as a concerned mother, feel about their recent decision. BPA has been banned in my state of Connecticut in certain products including baby bottles and the lining of baby formula cans. It’s hard to understand why my state government recognizes the use of BPA in food packaging has risks to us as consumers but yet the main federal organization tasked with protecting us isn’t able to come to this same conclusion.
As I have mentioned in previous posts through my Politics of Motherhood blog at Working Mother Media, chemicals such as BPA have been shown to cause harm to developing fetuses as well as women (and men’s) reproductive systems. That’s because BPA a known endocrine disruptor, which is a classification of chemicals that can affect the hormonal system. Endocrine disruptors have been linked to increased rates of breast cancer, early onset of puberty and rising rates of endometriosis - a leading cause of female infertility. In fact, a large body of research indicates a link between increased infertility rates in women and toxic chemical exposure.
The FDA argues that the science on BPA is inconclusive for humans but there is very compelling lab research that clearly shows harmful effects of BPA exposure, particularly at critical windows of development so why wouldn't we want to take a precautionary approach and reduce exposure to this synthetic estrogen?
As mothers we want to protect our children. We want to give them the opportunity to develop normally and live healthy lives. We want to steer them away from harm. How can we do that when our own government agency that is supposed to be protecting us caves to the pressures of the chemical industry lobbyists?
Here in Connecticut I’m fortunate to have members of my state legislature that understand that BPA exposure is a growing problem. Right now they are considering passing HB 5116, AA Requiring the Labeling of Food Packaging that Contains Bisphenol-A. While this legislation will not ban the use of BPA outright, it will at least afford consumers the ability to make informed decisions about the products we buy.
Until the FDA takes a stronger stance and shows consumers they are in our corner, I’ll be looking to my local government to continue protecting my family from toxic chemicals by passing good public policy.
Note: Michelle Noehren is the founder and editor of CTWorkingMoms.