Bisphenol-a (aka BPA), the exiled former chemical in hard, clear plastic including sippy cups and baby bottles, may have been prematurely purged. The plastic non grata turns out to look rather safe according to a new EPA-funded animal study. Worries over BPA have focused on it's possible estrogenic effects, much like, say estrogen found in birth control pills. So researchers fed rats small doses of either BPA or oral contraceptive pills (I swear to you) then studied health risks in their female off-spring. Yes, the momma rats got pregnant, I assume before the study. Anyhow, afterwards researchers found genital defects, fertility problems, and masculine behaviors in the females born to rats who'd eaten the birth control pills but not for those born to the mother rats fed BPA.
This study should serve as news to all those who pooh-poohed (scientifically sound) research because it was funded by the plastic industry. Here's one paid for by the EPA. And it doesn't involve rats being injected with BPA (as many that claim harm), which the experts say is not only more dangerous, but isn't how most people, especially developing fetuses and infants, come into contact with BPA.
Now I'd like my Baby Einstein-esque refund on those pricey Swiss water bottles. This BPA brouhaha is starting to look like another case of scientific evidence gone amok in not only the public imagination, but government health organizations and the media. Another instance of scientific evidence being misinterpreted, in this case, the dangers being exaggerated. That may be the lesson from parenting in the twenty-first century.
Now, if only I could get a refund on all the other products and services I'd bought or bought into based on inaccurate evidence.
Honestly, as a parent I'm relieved. I got a little scared and threw away the old baby bottles. As a researcher, though, I wasn't so scared or surprised about the latest study since I'd been reading up on the BPA studies for a couple years now (thank you, STATS.org who did a recent very detailed review of the research) and didn't think it was the big bad toxin. The psychologist in me, though, is still worried. Worried about the danger that one day might be found not so dangerous. False alarms can have some negative consequences. Like people not believing anything the experts tell me.
So when the real threat comes I may not believe it.
Read about the study on NPR.