In the 1980s, Dr. Ranjit Chandra at Memorial University in St. John’s, Canada was already well-known for his research in the fields of pediatrics and immunology. As a leader in medical research, he was elected as an officer of the Order of Canada, and served as president of the Nutritional Immunology & Allergy Center in India.
So when his 1989 British Medical Journal (BMJ) study purported to show the benefits of “hypo-allergenic” infant formula in reducing the risk of eczema in infants, no one raised concerns about the doctor’s connection to infant formula maker Mead Johnson, which had funded the research.
Now 25 years later, the BMJ has
For example, a series of studies using these computer models looked at the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), which outside of the U.S. is tightly regulated as an endocrine disrupting chemical. The computer modeling studies began with industry-friendly assumptions: that BPA is a weak hormone disruptor, that it only affects estrogen and not other hormones, and that people are exposed to BPA almost entirely from food.
Unsurprisingly, the studies found BPA is essentially harmless.
But lab studies on how BPA actually affects living beings have contradicted all of the assumptions made by the studies. Those studies show that BPA is a powerful hormone disruptor that affects multiple hormonal systems and that can enter the body through the skin or other pathways beyond food consumption.
The BPA example is just one of many outlined by In These Times. Their report notes that the risks from other toxic chemicals including formaldehyde, styrene, tricholorethylene, the pesticide chlorpyrifos and many others have been downplayed and regulations have been delayed or denied due to similar industry-backed computer modeling tests — in many cases, even when the industry tests are contradicted by actual biologically-based experiments.
Currently Congress is looking to finalize the first update in the nation’s chemical safety rules in nearly four decades. But sadly the new proposals would do little or nothing to end industry’s influence on the science that goes into chemical regulations. It’s well past time to end the corporate influence over science and our health — you can send a message to Congress today that we need real chemical safety reform, not more rules backed by phony chemical industry studies.
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