While this 100-to-2 seems like daunting
weight-of-the-evidence against BPA, the fact is that the two industry
studies were carefully conducted according to FDA-dictated protocols
In contrast, the alleged "100
published studies" supposedly raising concerns about BPA are of such
dubious scientific validity that the National Toxicology Program had to
all but eliminate traditional standards of science to shoehorn them in as any kind of evidence against BPA’s long track record of safety.
with the threshold-of-credibility meter set to zero, the "100 published
studies" have no detectable pulse. Nevertheless, Post reporter Lyndsey
Layton glossed over these inconveniences, seemingly in a hurry to quote
one David Michaels, credited as a "federal regulator in the Clinton
Michaels likened BPA makers to
the tobacco industry because, he claimed, when businesses raise
questions about the science underlying regulatory action it is merely a
tactic to delay regulation. Apparently, the only decent thing for an
industry wrongfully besieged by activists and the government to do is
to knuckle under.
But just what does Michaels do now?
runs something called the Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public
Policy at the George Washington University. While its university
affiliation and academic name would seem to lend it a modicum of
credibility, in fact, SKAPP’s origins are much more revealing.
I first reported in the Wall Street Journal in October 2003, SKAPP was
launched by something called the Common Benefit Trust — an expense
account originally established for the purpose of compensating silicone
breast implant, or SBI, plaintiff lawyers for legitimate services and
expenses incurred in connection with the multibillion-dollar
Oddly enough, some of that money
was diverted to form SKAPP, whose mission was to work to overturn the
1993 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Daubert v. Merrell Dow
Pharmaceuticals — the landmark decision that permits judges to set up
scientific review panels in federal litigation to keep junk science out
of the courtroom.
One Daubert panel played a
pivotal role in stopping SBI litigation in federal courts. As a proxy
for personal injury lawyers, SKAPP hasn’t been able to land a glove on
Daubert so far, but a new opportunity may be at hand.
Schumer and the trial lawyers. Under cover of all the recent alarmist
press on BPA and with support of Capitol Hill lobbying by anti-BPA
activists and researchers, including the University of Missouri’s Fred
vom Saal, Schumer introduced a bill on April 29 to ban BPA in baby and
"There have been enough
warning signs about the dangers of this chemical that we cannot sit
idly by and continue to allow vulnerable children and infants to be
exposed," Schumer said. The bill’s introduction must be considered a
slap in the face to the FDA, which had issued a statement the day before reaffirming the BPA’s safety.
on our ongoing review, we believe there is a large body of evidence
that indicates that FDA-regulated products containing BPA currently on
the market are safe and that exposure levels to BPA from food contact
materials, including for infants and children, are below those that may
cause health effects," the FDA stated in its media release.
Then on April 30, personal injury lawyers got into the act, filing
a billion-dollar class-action lawsuit against five baby bottle
manufacturers for their use of BPA in plastic baby bottles and toddler
training cups. It’s all quite breathtaking.
sit back and take stock of what has happened: Activists manipulated
long-standing scientific standards to enable a government agency ally
to cast dubious but impossible-to-disprove aspersions about BPA.
and/or too-dumb-to-know-better mainstream media ran with the story,
providing cover to activist-friendly politicians who introduced
legislation to ban BPA and personal injury lawyers who no doubt would
be happy to settle their meritless billion-dollar suit for a quick few
Meanwhile, the considered judgment
of the government agency charged with regulating BPA is cavalierly
tossed aside as if it didn’t matter. Though I don’t know what the fate
of Schumer’s bill will be — would a Democratic-controlled Congress
really undermine the credibility of the FDA? — it looks like the
class-action lawsuit filed in federal court may be on a collision
course with the Daubert decision.
It may be at
that point when we learn whether SKAPP has accomplished its mission of
re-admitting junk science into federal courts.