Editorial

What’s behind the anti-BPA crusade?

Derek Hunter Contributor

Ever heard of a group called the “Breast Cancer Fund”? No? You’re not alone. BCF is a friendly sounding advocacy group that “works to connect the dots between breast cancer and exposures to chemicals and radiation in our everyday environments.” The “connect the dots” part is key. BCF has taken it upon itself to replace science with conjecture and draw conclusions based on a desire to rid the world of chemicals that actually keep us safe and healthy.

BCF is very concerned with the environment. The “About Us” section of its website says, “We find practical solutions so that our children, grandchildren and planet can thrive.” Is our planet not thriving? Did I miss a memo?

Like most left-wing, pro-regulatory organizations, BCF claims to be “helping the children.” But what it is advocating now, without evidence to back its claim, will harm children, grandchildren and adults.

In a sensational yet scientifically lacking report entitled “BPA in Kids’ Canned Food,” the group calls for banning bisphenol-A (BPA) from all canned food marketed to children.

Bisphenol-A may sound sinister and unhealthy, but it’s actually used to coat the inside of cans to prevent “the development of dangerous contamination and pathogens in the food supply.” So why attack it?

According to Angela Logomasini of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI):

The Breast Cancer Fund hopes to bolster EPA efforts to undermine BPA. EPA would like to regulate and phase out BPA under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), but the law requires that the agency employ sound science to illustrate that a product is actually dangerous before banning it — something EPA has not been able to show for BPA. The Agency advocates legislation that would “modernize” TSCA to eliminate EPA accountability and grant power to regulate even when it is unjustified by the science.

Essentially it’s a power grab. If the EPA no longer has to prove that products are dangerous before banning them, there’s not much the EPA can’t control. Environmentalists and regulation-hungry big-government advocates are frothing at the mouth at the prospect.

Certainly legislators would never change the TSCA based on dots being connected by an advocacy group when the American Cancer Society, the leading voice in the fight against all cancers, says: “This issue understandably invokes a great deal of public concern, but at this time research does not show a clear link between breast cancer risk and exposure to these substances.”

This is Washington, D.C. Assuming proof would be required before action is sought is folly

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein has a bill that would ban BPA. According to The Washington Times, when asked about the impact a ban would have on the nation’s supermarkets in a horrible economy (a ban would limit the shelf-life of a significant portion of their goods), Feinstein said, “Well, we’re not there yet. We’re still just with infants and babies and I have to take the first step, because we want the FDA to test it. That’s going to take time.”

She’s ready to act now and find out if her actions were sound later. Ban first, ask questions later.

Feinstein continued, “I’ve come to a conclusion, that the less chemicals we ingest, the better we are.”

So Senator Feinstein wants to act because BPA, which has never been shown to harm humans, is a chemical. Where will this end? The answer is simple — wherever whoever has the power at any given moment decides he wants it to end. As CEI put it, “You can add water to that list — because, after all, it can burn, cause you to fall, and even kill you from over-hydration.”

It’s absurd to think anyone would seek to ban water, but just a few years ago it would’ve been absurd to think an elected official would seek to ban a chemical simply because it’s a chemical. These days there is little beyond the reach of government. We need to make sure as much as possible remains beyond its grasp.

Derek Hunter is a Washington-based writer and consultant. He can be stalked on Twitter @derekahunter