Canada has announced it will ban the chemical bisphenol A -- known as BPA -- which is used to make plastic water and baby bottles.
The head of the Canadian environmental group Environmental Defence is thrilled:
"Kudos to the federal government. ... We look forward to seeing BPA legally designated as 'toxic' as soon as possible."
But the evidence doesn't actually show that BPA is toxic. Europe's equivalent of the FDA concluded: "(T)he data currently available do not provide convincing evidence of neurobehavioral toxicity."
Richard Sharpe of the University of Edinburgh explained:
"Some early animal studies produced results suggesting the possibility of adverse effects relevant to human health, but much larger, carefully designed studies in several laboratories have failed to confirm these initial studies."
The initial studies injected BPA into animals, rather than giving it by mouth, which is how we humans are exposed. Since BPA degrades in the gut when we consume it, very little gets to our cells.
Yet many people are sure BPA causes not only breast and prostate cancer but also obesity, diabetes, attention deficit hyperactivity, autism, liver disease, ovarian disease, disease of the uterus, low sperm count and heart disease. When a chemical is said to cause so many disorders, that's a sure sign of unscientific hysteria. But a documentary called "Tapped" says it's true. It quotes experts claiming "BPA may be one of the most potent toxic chemicals known to man."
Nonsense. Not only is there no good evidence that BPA locked into plastic can hurt people, it actually saves lives by stopping botulism.
"Since BPA became commonplace in the lining of canned goods, food-borne illness from canned foods -- including botulism -- has virtually disappeared," says the American Council of Science and Health.
You never hear the good news about BPA in the mainstream media. Fear-mongering gets better ratings.
"Tapped" also asserts that other dangerous chemicals poison bottled water. In the film, toxicologist Dr. Stephen King says that we should be "horrified" at all those chemicals. But when we called King, he sent us a study saying "testing" reveals a surprising array of chemical contaminants in every bottled water brand analyzed -- at levels no different from those routinely found in tap water.
"Tapped" claims cancer rates are up because of these chemicals, but that's another myth. Cancer incidence rates are flat. They would have declined if not for new screening methods. Life spans are up, too.