News releases trumpeting not merely inaccurate, but false, science have become a way of life for Americans and others around the world. There is rarely, if ever, any fact checking done by the editors and reporters who pass along often dangerously false science on a wide range of topics, with many reports designed to alarm consumers.
Such is the case with bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical that has been in use for some 60 years to protect the contents of metal food containers and create shatter resistant plastics. In 2011 I wrote a four-part series about the efforts to ban BPA which has been subjected to more than 5,000 studies, none of which has found harm or undue risk in normal use. Its safety was reaffirmed earlier this year by the refusal of the Food and Drug Administration to ban it.
But the anti-chemical drumbeat continues. A recent study at the University of California-San Diego that purported to show a risk of danger when BPA was metabolized and this finding was announced by a news release issued by the university. It was reviewed and approved by researcher Michael Baker and contained the traditional hype we see when organizations want to whip up public concern when none is warranted. Remarkably, the tactic was exposed in a lengthy article by Jon Entine in Forbes magazine.