Scientific Method Disproves the BPA Scare, Again

From The American, the online magazine of the American Enterprise Institute, “A Toxic Setback for the Anti-Plastic Campaigners“:

Advocacy groups targeting plastic products made with bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates took it on the chin last week.

A comprehensive review by the German Society of Toxicology of thousands of studies on BPA concluded, “[BPA] exposure represents no noteworthy risk to the health of the human population, including newborns and babies.” The group, which included several scientists who have advised regulatory caution on BPA, bucked calls by advocacy groups to lower safe exposure levels…

In reviewing what it called a long-running “scientific and journalistic controversy,” the panel urged the public to avoid being seduced by each and every provocative small-scale laboratory experiment on a handful of rats. “It is not helpful to count how many academic studies are positive versus negative and to decide by majority vote whether a health hazard has to be expected or not,” as the anti-BPA crowd and compliant media do as a matter of course. Science is not “majority feelings” win; it’s about “weight of evidence.”

Journalistic controversy is right. Consumer scares are the staple of today’s journalism, especially local TV news and the morning shows, which became avid consumers of hyped allegations made by self-interested activist groups (cheered on by trial lawyers).

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel , a good newspaper, mounted a journalistic campaign against the chemical, driving public policy and winning a Scripps Howard prize in the process. We haven’t seen the German study reported yet in the paper. Soon, we’re sure.

Yes, it’s old hat. There are many, many examples of “consumer activists,” trial lawyers and their political allies attacking the chemical du jour to win publicity, votes, lawsuits and journalistic prizes. But in doing so, they exaggerate risk, play on people’s fears, create a demand for more government (and less freedom), and deprive the consumer of safe, useful and affordable products that make life more pleasant. Look at the kind of foolishness this phenomenon produces, courtesy ABC Channel 7 News in Denver:

DENVER — If you’re the type who has a wallet or purse full of receipts, you might want to throw them out. They could have the chemical Bisphenol A, or BPA, on them.

Give us the scientific method over fear-mongering any day.

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