Buyer Beware: Hidden Health Risks in Food

In an article authored by Margaret Cuomo, M.D., a discussion is raised regarding the safety of the foods consumers are presented with, and the omnipresent chemical known as bisphenol A. The article begins by announcing the recent defeat of bisphenol A by the United States Food and Drug Administration, but asks the question: how much of a victory is this achievement? While it is certainly a step in the right direction to ban BPA, Cuomo comments that this ban is hardly comprehensive, and is often thwarted by the presence of BPA in water pipes, cash register receipts, and packaged food containers. The ban is fairly limited in scope, only really pertaining to baby bottles and drinking cups. 

Shouldn't the burden of proof lie with the manufacturers of BPA to prove that it is safe for use in humans? Perhaps the answer lies in the "bottom line:" BPA has an estimated value of $6 billion annually. To put profit ahead of public health, however, is unacceptable. If there is even a possibility that BPA may be disrupting the endocrine systems of children, adolescents, and adults, and may be carcinogenic for humans as it is for mice, it should be removed from consumer products.

This sobering figure serves as a reminder that the battle is far from won with regards to bisphenol A. While many researchers are pleading for precautionary measures to be put in place, others argue that limited research of BPA's effects on humans exists. Human studies are obviously ethically difficult to obtain, and some state that caution should be taken regardless. Cuomo ends with the stetement that is is up to the consumer to make responsible choices about the food he or she purchases, until the FDA steps up to its role as a steward of public health. To read the article in its entirety, please click here.

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