Tuesday, November 06, 2012

BPA - The cost of junk science and overhype

I've never been a big fan of the blog "Hands Off My Plastic Stuff", a blog largely if not entirely devoted to the BPA battle, and in this case, taking the position that banning it is wrong. I have no idea who the author is, but he/she admits to a lack of technical training and it shows at time [*]. Parts of the posts often ends up being as emotional as the opponents he/she faces. That said, two recent posts were very good and deserve a larger audience.

The first discusses a recent article pointing out the dangers of junk science - how government resources are diverted from non-junk science to respond to public concerns.

The second is on the UCSD researcher disavowing that university's recent PR blurb about how the real threat from BPA may be in the metabolized products. I written and complained loudly many times in the past of various university PR departments overstating research results, so I am glad to see others joining the efforts.

[*] Statements such as "BPA is short for bisphenol A, which didn’t mean anything to me until I started to look into this topic. Turns out it’s a polycarbonate (I’m still lost at this point, don’t worry) which means it’s a type of plastic" drive me up the wall. For the gazillionth time, BPA is a monomer used to make plastics, such as polycarbonate. Copolymerize it with phosgene and you will have the stuff of CD's and waterbottles. But by itself, it is a white powder.

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