Industry rejects bisphenol A phase-out call

WWF claim that chemical is serious endocrine disrupter "reckless" say manufacturers

A global group of manufacturers of plastic additive bisphenol A has described as "reckless" a call made earlier this month by the UK branch of environmental group World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) for the chemical to be phased out. WWF's claim that bisphenol A could disrupt endocrine hormone systems in humans and wildlife was "unbalanced," the group said.

In its report on bisphenol A (BPA), WWF presented what it called "a range of evidence" demonstrating endocrine disruption, including links to reduced sperm production, increased prostate weight and endometriosis, a condition in which uterine tissue is found outside the uterus. The NGO said that children were at the highest risk from endocrine disrupters, and called on the UK government "to phase out or ban" production and use of "known hormone or endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as bisphenol A".

European chemical industry association Cefic and partner organisations in the USA and Japan today hit back at WWF's study, contradicting all its main conclusions. The chemical is not persistent as claimed by WWF, they said, and the "low-dose" theory, under which even very small exposure to chemicals might have significant biological effects, "scientifically highly questionable".

The manufacturers asserted that the "weight of scientific evidence...demonstrates that bisphenol A does not pose a meaningful risk to the environment," while existing regulations "protect consumer health". The chemical should not be considered a selective or developmental toxicant, they said, and does not even meet established criteria for being classed as an endocrine disrupter. WWF's call for elimination of human exposure "is therefore unfounded".

Follow Up:
Cefic, tel: +32 2 676 7211, the global industry's Bisphenol A home page and full report. See also WWF UK, tel: +44 1483 426 444, 9 May press release and full report.

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