Thursday, May 6, 2010

My response to the Weekly Ad

Maybe the Eugene Weekly will publish this reponse. We shall see. The ad/letter to the Weekly was signed by "Stephen K. Schwartz, PResident, CEO," unlike the press release. Anyway, here's my response:
It seems likely that the full page ad taken out by the RiteMade company is designed to assure the public that BPA in cash register receipts and other thermal paper is nothing to worry about. However, the misstatements of fact in the ad make me quite doubtful of that the assertion of “nothing to worry about” is valid.

Contrary to assertions made by RiteMade, neither Health Canada nor the FDA have come to any final conclusions on the safety of BPA. How do I know this? Because Health Canada (, in conjunction with the World Health Organization and the FDA, are currently organizing a meeting to be held in Ottawa on the 2nd through 5th of November 2010 “to review toxicological and health aspects of Bisphenol A.” ( Why are Health Canada, the FDA and WHO having this meeting? The meeting’s web page says that “It is notable that the effects in some of the research studies were described at dose levels several orders of magnitude below those at which effects were reported in the standard guideline (regulatory) studies.” That statement, in plain English, reads “This chemical may have very large effects at very small doses.

Also, despite the vote of the California Toxicant Committee (CDRTIC) against the listing of BPA as a toxic chemical, as mentioned in the ad, the State of California is very likely to add BPA to their Proposition 65 list of toxic chemicals very soon anyway. That is because there are three other ways for a substance to get on the list, most notably, if another authoritative body determines that the substance is toxic. In this case, that authoritative body is the National Toxicology Program’s Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (NTP-CERHR) The NTP is a branch of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Their conclusion in a September 2008 monograph was that “NTP has some concern for effects on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and children at current human exposures to bisphenol A.” “Some concern” is, by the way, less serious than “concern” and “serious concern.”

Another assertion from the RiteMade ad is that they are “unaware of any instance of a health related issue” regarding thermal paper. That may be because they failed to read the study (1500 subjects in the USA, tested twice in the period 2003-2006) that correlates BPA concentration in human bodily tissues directly with higher incidence of heart disease in these populations. (

Ritemade’s concluding argument that there is no practical difference between BPA and BPS may very well be true. However, even here, the actual science done on this question is quite mixed, with some researchers finding nearly identical hormone-mimicking activity in BPA and BPS, while others find BPA to be more potent.

The letter from Mr. Schwartz at RiteMade is not a news article, nor is it scholarly or scientific research. It is persuasive rhetoric designed to convince the public to “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

So, there's my response. Most of the web docs I refer to in it are posted elsewhere on the blog as well, but I may have listed a few new ones.

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