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Friday, October 31, 2008: The Latest BPA News from the Journal Sentinel

FDA advisory board accepts critical report on agency's handling of BPA
By Meg Kissinger of the Journal Sentinel
Oct. 31, 2008 2:21 p.m. | A Food and Drug Administration advisory board voted Friday to accept a report that sharply criticized the agency's decision that bisphenol A is safe in baby bottles and food containers.
The report found that FDA scientists ignored dozens of legitimate studies and its conclusions that bisphenol A is safe were inadequate.

Larry Sassich, the consumer representative to the board, said he would encourage the FDA to immediately consider a ban for infant products.  

Martin Philbert, who chaired the subcommittee and serves on the board did not vote. Philbert, a professor at the University of Michigan, is founder and co-director of a center that received a $5 million donation last summer from an anti-regulation advocate.

You can find the complete story in tomorrow's Journal Sentinel.

In the lead up to this week's meeting, the FDA faced increasing criticism from scientists and advocacy groups and scrutiny from Congress. The Journal Sentinel reported last week that there was new evidence that the plastics industry was behind the initial FDA draft report.

Monday, October 20, 2008:  
In the News: On Saturday, Canada became the first country to formally declare Bisphenol A (BPA) hazardous to human health. The federal government added the chemical to its list of toxic substances, opening the door for regulatory action, and has already signaled its desire to ban plastic baby bottles made from the chemical. In the United States, attorneys general from three states have preempted regulation by the Food & Drug Administration by asking companies that make baby bottles and baby formula containers to no longer use the chemical in their manufacturing.

Last week, questions were raised about the impartiality of Dr. Martin Philbert, the chairman of the FDA panel charged with evaluating the safety of BPA. Charles Gelman - a retired medical supply manufacturer and an outspoken critic of government regulation who believes the chemical is "perfectly safe" - made a $5 million donation to a research center directed by Philbert. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported on the matter last weekend. On Tuesday, The New York Times published an editorial calling for the FDA to investigate Dr. Martin Philbert's failure to report this potential conflict of interest and determine if Philbert should be asked to step down, and Thursday The Washington Post editorial page also weighed in, admonishing the FDA to "make every effort to ensure that not only are its opinions based in fact but also that they are free of undue influence or even the appearance of such."

Read the latest BPA developments from the Journal Sentinel. And watch Expos�?©'s "Chemistry War Zone" to learn more about the controversy surrounding this chemical.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008:
In the News: After months of investigation by federal immigration authorities, agents today raided a House of Raeford Farms chicken processing plant in Greenville, South Carolina, detaining more than 300 workers. Watch Expos�?©'s "20,000 Cuts a Day" for the story of The Charlotte Observer's extraordinary investigation into working conditions at House of Raeford and throughout the industry, and read the paper's ongoing coverage.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008:
In the News: The first large human study of Bisphenol A (BPA) exposures finds adults exposed to higher amounts of BPA were more likely to report having heart disease and diabetes. In a meeting of its science advisory board yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration maintained that BPA is safe. Read about the latest research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and updates on the controversy over BPA from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Plus, on the Moyers Blog: BusinessWeek reporters answer your questions about the maximum interest rate companies can charge, financial literacy tests for borrowers, and whether the working poor are being "exploited" by current business practices.

Monday, August 18, 2008:
In the News: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration weighs in on the safety of Bisphenol A (BPA). Read the latest from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the FDA's draft report. Watch Expos�?©'s "Chemistry War Zone" to learn about the controversy surrounding this chemical, which is found not only in household plastics and the linings of metal cans, but also in 93% of the people tested by the Centers for Disease Control.

Friday, August 8, 2008: This week on Expos�?©: a new episode online and on Bill Moyers Journal (check local listings). Is the cost of being poor on the rise? Lower-income families have long paid more for food, housing and other basic necessities. But corner bodegas, pawn shops, and rent-to-own furniture stores, often staples of poor neighborhoods, have been joined by some newer, bigger competition in recent years.  The finance industry that brought the nation subprime mortgages has now come to town seeking riches in the form of high-interest, high-fee loans. Holding out the promise of credit for everything from cars to computers to medical bills, these new businesses - backed by some well-known financial industry players - have moved in, leading low-income consumers into a potentially unending cycle of debt.

Read all the original reporting and listen to a podcast with BusinessWeek's John Byrne, Brian Grow and Keith Epstein on the story behind "The Poverty Business." Crunch the numbers on the new economics of the poverty business. Ask the reporters about their investigation by submitting questions to the Blog on the Bill Moyers Journal site.

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