With controversy over its safety raging for more than a decade, you’ve almost certainly heard about bisphenol A (BPA). It’s primarily used to make polycarbonate plastic, a clear and highly shatter-resistant material. You’ll find it in an array of products ranging from your kid’s sports safety equipment to their safety glasses in science class, to the cellphone cases and electronics that seem to never leave their hands.
It’s well known that we are exposed to extremely low levels of BPA in our daily lives, but are those levels harmful? Called a “hormone disrupting chemical” by some scientists, BPA has been frequently talked about in the news and social media, and numerous products sporting “BPA-Free” labels appear in stores.
As a parent you want to keep your family safe and you deserve a clear answer to the question—is BPA safe?
The FDA says yes, and they have good reasons to say so. Given its mission to protect public health and its regulatory oversight of foods and food-contact materials, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been engaged on the issue of BPA safety for many years.
Most recently, FDA worked with scientists in two key branches of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to design and conduct a multi-year, multi-million dollar study known by the acronym CLARITY. It’s the capstone of a nearly 10-year effort designed to resolve uncertainties about the safety of BPA.
After years of waiting, the results are in. On September 28, the final report of the so-called CLARITY Core Study was released to the public.
Although the CLARITY Core Study is complex, its conclusion is quite straightforward, and one that all parents need to know. The Core Study found that BPA has very little potential to cause health effects, even after a lifetime of low-level exposure. In the words of the study’s Principal Investigator: “In the study author’s judgment of the results … BPA did not elicit clear, biologically plausible, adverse effects …” at levels even remotely close to typical consumer exposure levels.
Importantly, the Core Study report was peer-reviewed before finalization by a panel of independent scientists who endorsed the design and conduct of the study as well as FDA’s interpretation of the results. And, earlier studies conducted by FDA scientists found that BPA is rapidly eliminated from the body and therefore unlikely to cause health effects at the very low levels to which people are typically exposed. The CLARITY Core Study emphatically confirms the prediction of this earlier research.
Thanks to a decade of dedicated research, families can take heart that FDA has done its due diligence on BPA safety, and met its goal to resolve uncertainties. So it’s no wonder that FDA answers the question “Is BPA safe?” with the straightforward answer – “Yes.”