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3 posts from January 2010

January 18, 2010

FDA Shifts its Position and Expresses Concern About BPA

New York Times - 1.15.10

"Government evaluations of BPA have had a contentious history. The drug agency wrote a draft report calling it safe in 2008. But shortly after that, the National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, said BPA was cause for “some concern,” citing the same issues that the drug agency is now agreeing to: potential effects on the brain, behavior and prostate in fetuses, infants and children.

Then the drug agency asked an independent panel of scientific advisers to review its draft report, and the panel gave it a scathing review. It accused the F.D.A. of ignoring important evidence and giving consumers a false sense of security about the chemical. The drug agency promised to reconsider BPA, and the announcement on Friday fulfilled that pledge.

“We are for the first time saying we believe there is some concern about the substance’s safety, and we’ve closed the gap between N.I.H. and F.D.A.,” Dr. Sharfstein of the F.D.A. said in an interview."

Read more here.

January 13, 2010

BPA exposure linked to heart disease

U.S. News & World Report - 1.13.10

"A previously reported link between exposure to the plastics chemical bisphenol A and heart disease stands, reports a new study published online January 12 in PLoS ONE.

Click here to find out more!
Added to previous work, the finding provides a third prong of evidence implicating the chemical in cardiovascular and metabolic problems, notes Richard Stahlhut of the Center for Reproductive Epidemiology at the University of Rochester in New York. “It’s becoming a coherent picture that really does fit together,” says Stahlhut, who was not involved in the research. “If these all connect, we really do have a problem...

Stahlhut cautions that there is still a lot about BPA that warrants investigation. Chlorinated BPA is detectable in the fat tissue of women and children, scientists from Spain reported in 2007 and 2008. “This plus this, plus this, means we better chase this,” Stahlhut says.”

Read the entire article here.

Wal-Mart Stores in Northern California Begin Charging for Plastic Bags

Associated Content - 1.12.10

Walmart_logo_expo "Wal-Mart charging for plastic bags is now reality for shoppers in Northern California's Folsom, Ukiah and Citrus Heights. Wal-Mart grocery bags may soon cost a few pennies in other areas as well. Are Californians ready? What appears like a lofty goal - the overall waste reduction of 33% by 2013 - may well be accomplished one bag at a time. With Wal-Mart charging for plastic bags, the retailer implements the second phase of its "bring your own bag" movement that started back in October. As reported by the Sacramento Bee, Wal-Mart strongly encouraged consumers to bring their own bags when buying. At this point, encouragement gives way to cash incentives. Wal-Mart charges for bags at the rate of 15 cents; over-sized bags retail for 50 cents. The jury is still out whether Wal-Mart charging for bags will be a project that also finds its way into the remaining 52 stores..."

Read more here.

Our Take: Financial incentives to encourage people to carry reusable bags are smart. Like successful fee models, such as Ireland's Plastax, incentives have the potential to reduce the consumption of use-and-toss shopping bags dramatically.