New report finds government inaction on harmful chemical found in household products

\newAustralian regulators continue to down play the harmful effects of a chemical called Bisphenol A (BPA), which is extensively used in plastic consumer products. According to a new report released today by Friends of the Earth, 'Blissfully unaware of BPA: reasons why regulators should live up to their responsibilities' regulators need to act urgently to protect consumers.

 
Friends of the Earth Australia   
EMBARGOED PRESS RELEASE
Embargo: 00.01 Tuesday 23rd September 2008

NEW REPORT FINDS GOVERNMENT INACTION ON HARMFUL CHEMICAL FOUND IN HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS

NEW CONSUMER GUIDE - Bisphenol A in plastics: does it make us sick?

Australian regulators continue to down play the harmful effects of a chemical called Bisphenol A (BPA), which is extensively used in plastic consumer products.

According to a new report, 'Blissfully unaware of BPA: reasons why regulators should live up to their responsibilities' regulators need to act urgently to protect consumers.

The report reveals that despite  scientific consensus about the health hazards of  BPA, Australian authorities are shirking their responsibilities and are continuing business as usual.

The new report shows that BPA, which is found in consumer goods such as baby bottles, plastic microwave food containers and canned food linings, has proven links with a wide range of health disorders from infertility, breast and prostate cancer, to thyroid malfunction, attention deficit syndrome and recurrent miscarriage. Pointing also, to a new culprit of diabetes and heart disease epidemic, a just published representative US population study found that individuals with high urinary BPA content had increased heart disease, diabetes, and liver abnormalities.
(see: http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/300.11.1303?loc=interstitialskip).

Despite growing concerns overseas, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FZANZ) is continuing to tell the public that BPA is safe. However there is now broad scientific consensus that human exposure to, and contamination with, BPA is widespread and at much higher levels than expected. The levels of BPA found in humans are consistent with the levels that have been proven harmful in all studies conducted on animals. A new Yale study on monkeys released this month showed that Bisphenol A caused problems with brain function and mood disorders in monkeys - the first time the chemical has been connected to health problems in primates.

“Why is FSANZ thumbing their noses at the world's leading experts on the subject?” asks Friends of the Earth spokesperson, Dr. Rye Senjen.

The Japanese regulator in early July 2008 urged mothers to refrain from excessively heating baby bottles and pregnant women to avoid eating too much canned food.  “We urge FSANZ to take into account the general scientific consensus and to act on the basis of the precautionary principle. Bisphenol A is a harmful chemical and should be banned from all food contact materials immediately. “says Dr. Rye Senjen.

For more information please contact:
Dr. Rye Senjen, Chemicals Campaigner, Friends of the Earth Australia, rye.senjen@foe.org.au
03 94810145 or 0431 66 2124

The report and consumers guide can be found here.