This originally appeared here!
When I began this series about bisphenol-A, BPA, I instituted a Google Alert for Internet posts that mentioned it. From January through March it generated a report each day filled with notifications of newspaper, magazine, and Internet posts all denouncing BPA has a hazardous chemical that threatened the health of everyone from infants to adults.
More than one thousand posts were reported. Virtually all spread false information.
Such things do not happen by accident. They are the result of a concerted effort to defame BPA and they are indicative of a massive public relations effort. Serendipitously, on March 2nd the National Review published an article by Jon Entire, “Don’t Rush to Ban Chemicals” that revealed how public opinion is manipulated by the use of dubious “scientific studies” and the way most people, unschooled in science, do not realize that “one part per billion” of any substance poses no risk at all.
Entine cited a survey that found that “Canadians on average have about one part per billion of BPA in their urine, while Americans have twice that amount” noting that this “is not just meaningless, let alone news by any definition, but is part of the massive public relations campaign to get BPA banned”
“Labeling a chemical ‘toxic’ or a ‘contaminant’ is meaningless,” said Entine. “Toxicity is a question of degree; exposure is different from effect. Apples, bananas, broccoli, cabbage, citrus fruits, mushrooms, turnips, and many more foods contain occurring chemicals that are toxic—they cause cancer at large lifelong doses in laboratory rodents. Tofu is more estrogenic than BPA.”
Anyone who wants to learn the truth about BPA is advised to visit Junkscience.com, the website of Steve Milloy who has gained a solid reputation for debunking so-called “science based” fear campaigns. His data on BPA reveals that “there is no scientific evidence that BPA:
• Has ever harmed anyone despite 50 years of use;
• Acts as an endocrine disruptor; and
• Has any health effects at low doses;
Furthermore, the data debunks some of the most off-cited and false claims about BPA.
• BPA is not carcinogenic or mutagenic;
• BPA does not adversely affect reproduction or development at any realistic dose;
• BPA is efficiently “metabolized” and rapidly excreted after oral exposure
So where does the worldwide anti-BPA public relations campaign originate?
The answer to that has to be by inference, but many trace it to Fenton Communications whose founder, David Fenton, has left-wing associations and affiliations dating all the way back to the domestic terror group, the Weatherman, for whom he was a photographer.
In a lengthy profile on DiscoverTheNetworks.org, one learns that in 1982, he established Fenton Communications, specializing in advancing the agendas of “left-wing groups.” “One of Fenton’s most widely publicized achievements was his 1989 attack against the producers of Alar, a preservative (used on apples) that he erroneously characterized as carcinogenic.” The cost to American apple growers and distributors was catastrophic. It was deceptive.
The anti-BPA scare campaign is patterned on the anti-Alar campaign and a further link is found in the fact that two of Fenton’s longtime clients, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Working Group are leaders in the anti-BPA campaign. Moreover, BornFree, a company that specializes in products that do not contain BPA, is also a Fenton client.
In the book, “The Fear Profiteers”, Fenton Communications was identified as having “played a key role in a growing number of health scare campaigns.” At the time the book was published, Fenton was linked to “scares about Alar and apples, swordfish, leaky breast implants, and a front group (a favorite PR ploy) Health Care Without Harm that put forth lies about the alleged, but unproven danger of phthalates; chemicals used to make plastic flexible products for IV bags, nipples, and children’s toys.
Suffice to say Fenton Communications is opposed to anything that has to do with plastic, no matter how useful and safe the product may be. BPA has been in use for over fifty years to line the insides of metal and plastic food containers, protecting against spoilage. More than 6,000 studies have been made over the years and none have demonstrated any hazard.
“If you have been scared about food or pesticides in the last ten years,” said ‘The Fear Profiteers’, “chances are Fenton Communications played a key role in provoking that fear. The fears just don’t ever stop. But they all have one thing in common—a lack of evidence and abundance of deceit.”
The anti-BPA propaganda that has been put in motion is multiplied by the countless journalists who simply repeat the lies, accounting for some of the most meretricious misinformation on a daily basis. This in turn is multiplied by the seemingly endless blogs and alleged “health” websites that repeat and repeat it, primarily targeting expectant and new mothers. Another favorite target are men who are told BPA affects their sex drive.
The problem for everyone, everywhere in the world, occurs when governments or entities such as the European Union ban the use of BPA despite overwhelming evidence of its safe use. That puts everyone at risk for the food-related illnesses that occur when containers no longer have the protection that BPA provides.
© Alan Caruba, 2011
Alan 's work has a sense of timelessness about it, so anyone perusing these articles in the future will find them equally insightful as they were when originally written. For Alan's latest thoughts go to his blog, Warning Signs. For his past works go to The National Anxiety Center. I would also recommend reading his last book, Right Answers.