Friday, April 13, 2012

The FDA does something right

The Food and Drug Administration has rejected a petition from environmentalists that would have banned the plastic-hardening chemical bisphenol-A from all food and drink packaging, including plastic bottles and canned food.

The agency said Friday that petitioners did not present compelling scientific evidence to justify new restrictions on the much-debated chemical, commonly known as BPA, though federal scientists continue to study the issue.

The Natural Resources Defense Council's petition was the latest move by public-safety advocates to prod regulators into taking action against the chemical, which is found in products from CDs to canned food to dental sealants.

About 90 percent of Americans have traces of BPA in their bodies, mainly because it leaches out of food and beverage containers.

Some scientists believe exposure to BPA can harm the reproductive and nervous systems, particularly in babies and small children, potentially leading to cancer and other diseases. They point to results from dozens of BPA studies in rodents and other animals.

But FDA reiterated in its response that that those findings cannot be applied to humans. The agency said the studies cited by the NRDC were often too small to be conclusive. In other cases, they involved researchers injecting BPA into animals, whereas humans ingest the chemical through their diet over longer periods of time. The agency also said that humans metabolize and eliminate BPA much more quickly than rats and other lab animals.

"While evidence from some studies have raised questions as to whether BPA may be associated with a variety of health effects, there remain serious questions about these studies, particularly as they relate to humans," the agency said in its response.

The Natural Resources Defense Council petitioned the FDA in 2008 to ban BPA as a food additive, including all uses in food or beverage packaging. Petitions on various safety issues are routinely filed by advocacy groups, companies and even individuals. When the FDA failed to respond within the required timeframe, the environmental group sued the agency. In December a federal judge ruled that the agency had to respond by the end of March.

"The FDA is out of step with scientific and medical research," said Dr. Sarah Janssen, NRDC's senior scientist for public health. "This illustrates the need for a major overhaul of how the government protects us against dangerous chemicals."

FDA officials stressed that their assessment of BPA is ongoing, and they expect to issue another update later this year based on their most recent findings. The agency's last official statement was that there is "some concern" about BPA's effects on infants and young children.


Could eating your greens be a lifesaver? Study finds breast cancer sufferers who consume veg are more likely to survive

In China it's probably the richer who have greatest dietary variety and they would be healthier anyhow

Women diagnosed with breast cancer are more likely to survive if they eat up their greens, research suggests.  A large Chinese study found a link between higher consumption of cruciferous vegetables such as greens, cabbage and broccoli, and reduced breast cancer death rates.

Researchers followed the progress of almost 5,000 women for around five years after they were diagnosed with breast cancer.

They found that the more cruciferous vegetables women ate during the first three years after diagnosis, the less likely they were to die.

As consumption increased, the chances of dying from breast cancer fell by between 22 per cent and 62 per cent and from all causes by between 27 per cent and 62 per cent.

Breast cancer recurrence risk also decreased, by between 21 per cent and 35 per cent

During the study period, a total of 587 women died, 496 from breast cancer. Researchers recorded 615 cases of recurrence.

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in Chicago, US.

The researchers pointed out that cruciferous vegetable consumption habits differed between China and the West.

'Commonly consumed cruciferous vegetables in China include turnips, Chinese cabbage/bok choy and greens, while broccoli and brussels sprouts are the more commonly consumed cruciferous vegetables in the United States and other Western countries,' said study leader Dr Sara Nechuta, from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, US.

'Second, the amount of intake among Chinese women is much higher than that of US women. The level of bioactive compounds such as isothiocyanates and indoles, proposed to play a role in the anti-cancer effects of cruciferous vegetables, depend on both the amount and type of cruciferous vegetables consumed.'

Dr Nechuta said future studies of the effects of cruciferous vegetables on breast cancer should make direct measurements of levels of bioactive compounds.

The women were participants in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study, an investigation of Chinese breast cancer survivors diagnosed with different grades of tumour between 2002 and 2006.


1 comment:

Wireless.Phil said...

FDA? Ha!
Fukushima radiation taints US milk supplies at levels 2000 percent ...
three different milk samples -- all from different parts of the US -- have tested positive for radioactive Iodine-131 at levels that exceed the EPA maximum thresholds for safety, which is currently set at 3.0 pico Curies per Liter (pCi/l).