Monday, October 26, 2015
Montreal Gazette

“More research is needed.” That’s a common final sentence in scientific papers, especially when it comes to studying the effects of environmental chemicals on health. With numerous chemical reactions going on in our body all the time, and exposure to thousands and thousands of chemicals, both natural and synthetic, it is a huge challenge to tease out the effects of a single substance. That brings up the question of when the effort and funds invested in studying a chemical have been sufficient. Is there a point at which further research is unlikely to lead to a major revelation? Can research funds be better spent on alternate projects that are more likely to yield meaningful results?
We may be reaching such a stage with bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that has been the subject of more studies in the toxicological literature than any other.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

We thought that everyone could agree that the year-round availability of low-cost, appetizing and healthful fruits and vegetables to school-kids is a good thing. We were naive.
According to a study published in September in an obscure journal, schools are exposing kids to potentially dangerous levels of toxic chemicals from food packaging because of “schools’ efforts to streamline food preparation and meet federal nutrition standards while keeping costs low.”

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Science 2.0

Recent media stories have reported on two new scientific studies involving BPA’s effects on birth weight.  One study reported a statistical association between prenatal exposure to BPA and increased birth weight, while the other reported an association with decreased birth weight. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The latest skirmish in the war of anti-chemical crusaders against the food industry broke out in an unlikely place – the usually tranquil waters of Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte. Vani Hari, author of the widely read Food Babe blog, recently kicked up a fuss by charging that the popular drink contains a cancer-causing substance called 4-mei, which is a byproduct of its caramel coloring.
As the name of her blog suggests, Ms. Hari trades on her trim physique to make up for her lack of credentials in chemistry, nutrition, or food science. No matter; not only was Starbucks forced to defend the healthiness of its product, but the Food and Drug Administration found it necessary to restate its longstanding position that there is “no reason to believe that at current levels it causes a health concern.” The FDA also noted that the amount of 4-Mei found in coffee is far exceeded by that in soft drinks, bread, and ice cream. But it’s difficult to counter the audience appeal of a headline like “Drink Starbucks? Wake Up And Smell The Chemicals!”

Wednesday, June 3, 2015
American Chemistry Matters

For decades, epoxy resins made from BPA have been used safely as a protective coating in food and drink cans. These coatings help to prevent food contamination and foodborne illness, which are very real threats, and epoxy resins are very effective at this important task.
Contrary to what you might read in a recent report from an environmental activist organization, a strong scientific track record supports the safety of BPA in food contact materials, including epoxy resin protective coatings. For example, in January 2015, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that “BPA poses no health risk to consumers of any age group (including unborn children, infants and adolescents) at current exposure levels.” Similarly, in November 2014, the  U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concluded that “FDA’s current perspective, based on its most recent safety assessment, is that BPA is safe at the current levels occurring in foods.”

Friday, May 15, 2015

If there are three letters that strike fear in the hearts of Canadian parents, it’s BPA. But, in a recent paper in the Canadian Journal of Political Science, Wilfrid Laurier professor Simon Kiss argues that Health Canada’s decision to classify BPA as toxic in 2008 was the result of political and cultural factors, not because science shows it’s unsafe.
Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a synthetic compound that’s been in use since the 1950s. An additive to harden clear plastics, it’s also in the paper that receipts are printed on, and in the lining of food cans. Most of us have detectable traces of it in our urine. However, whether BPA has any effect on humans at typical exposure levels is deeply controversial, even among scientists.