Today, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) posted a statement on its blog about an agreement reached with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding a deadline for action on a petition NRDC had filed. Sounds like no big deal, right?
Under normal circumstances, it wouldn’t be. But that statement so crosses the lines of accuracy in a particularly egregious way that it warrants a response.
First, the NRDC post completely mischaracterizes what happened today. This will be easily apparent to anyone who actually reads the court documents, but who has time to do that? That is exactly what the NRDC is banking on. The court documents reflect that FDA has merely agreed to a timetable for responding to a petition from NRDC related to the agency’s review of BPA by March 31, 2012. The FDA did not say that it would issue a decision about how BPA can and should be used safely by March 31, which is what NRDC would like everyone to believe.
Second, NRDC makes a baseless claim in the headline of its post about the health risks of BPA to people. In doing so, NRDC ignores the scientific consensus of government regulatory bodies around the world, and throws out a charge that is understandably frightening to parents and consumers to elicit the most emotional reaction possible. To be clear… no global or scientific authority has ever concluded that BPA is causing health effects in people at current exposure levels. Not one. This cynical tactic to distort information so that it plays to parent’s fears is not new, but today’s accusation is among the most egregious we’ve seen.
Why would they do this? As a professional, science-based organization, we hate to guess when it comes to the motives of others. But perhaps NRDC wants to create a sense of momentum and expectation that, they hope, will back FDA into a corner. FDA has said they are fully reviewing the science and if warranted, will take action based on the science – an effort that ACC supports. Perhaps NRDC is trying to bully the FDA into cutting their review short. Perhaps they are concerned that if given the opportunity to thoroughly review the science, FDA again will join the other regulatory agencies from around the world that have reviewed the same data and reconfirm that BPA is safe for all food contact uses.
As an industry, we are accustomed to having our statements and assertions come under scrutiny. For far too long, activists have not been forced to abide by the same rules. Today’s blog post by NRDC is evidence that the media, policymakers and the public need to think twice before taking their claims and accepting their “facts” at face value.