Jeff Stier

We have the safest food supply in the world today - it has actually never been safer. But there is always room for improvement. After more than a year of deliberation and negotiation, the Senate is poised this week to pass The Food Safety Modernization Act. The legislation enjoys the rare distinction of having broad bipartisan support. But the bill is at risk of being derailed by a misguided and unnecessary amendment to ban something that does not pose a real threat: bisphenol A (BPA).

The Ban Poisonous Additives Act, sponsored by Sens. Schumer (D NY) and Feinstein (D CA), would bar the use of BPA, a key component used to make epoxy resins and polycarbonate plastic, in food and beverage containers. When asked why she proposed this amendment, Sen. Feinstein made simplistic statement: "I feel very strongly that the government should protect people from harmful chemicals."

The recent target of radical environmental activists and ratings- seeking media alarmists, BPA has been accused of being associated with an assortment of adverse health effects, none of which are supported by acceptable scientific evidence or have been validated by FDA. BPA critics have called the widely-used chemical the "biological equivalent of global warming," and claims of its health effects run the gamut from autism to cancer to genital and reproductive abnormalities.

Not to be outdone by the global warming alarmists, the anti-industry BPA fear mongers continue to propound flimsy "evidence" unsupported by any reputable scientific body.

No fewer than 11 global regulatory agencies, including FDA, have examined the science and concluded that BPA is not a risk to human health. In its statement (released in January 2010), FDA concluded that BPA "is not proven to harm children or adults..." This is consistent with FDA's 2008 finding, which was updated at the insistence of politicians and activists at a great cost to taxpayers. If this overly precautionary FDA believed, after two thorough reviews, that BPA posed a harm to anyone, they would not have left it on the market. The science has spoken again and again, yet these anti-BPA activists posing as scientists continue to use scare tactics and ignore decades of convincing scientific research to waste money and frighten Americans into echoing their ideology.

Jeff Stier

Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research and directs its Risk Analysis Division. You can follow him on Twitter at @JeffAStier.