President’s Cancer Panel, NYT’s Kristof call out BPA (New York Times, 5/6/2010)

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It's here: the much-anticipated President's Cancer Panel report Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now, and it's not good news for BPA or any of the other cancer-causing and hormone-disrupting chemicals the Breast Cancer Fund is working to restrict. We’ll blog more about this in the coming hours, but, to kick it off, check out Thursday's New York Times column by Nicholas Kristof. Here's an excerpt:

[The report] calls on America to rethink the way we confront cancer, including much more rigorous regulation of chemicals…

The report blames weak laws, lax enforcement and fragmented authority, as well as the existing regulatory presumption that chemicals are safe unless strong evidence emerges to the contrary.
 
Industry may howl. The food industry has already been fighting legislation in the Senate backed by Dianne Feinstein of California that would ban bisphenol-A, commonly found in plastics and better known as BPA, from food and beverage containers.

Studies of BPA have raised alarm bells for decades, and the evidence is still complex and open to debate. That’s life: In the real world, regulatory decisions usually must be made with ambiguous and conflicting data. The panel's point is that we should be prudent in such situations, rather than recklessly approving chemicals of uncertain effect.

The President's Cancer Panel report will give a boost to Senator Feinstein's efforts. It may also help the prospects of the Safe Chemicals Act, backed by Senator Frank Lautenberg and several colleagues, to improve the safety of chemicals on the market.

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