If companies work to create BPA-free plastics in response to public pressure, what is the FDA for?

If you have been following the In the Media page on this site, you will have noticed how growing public pressure is resulting in companies offering us BPA-free plastics for use in our homes and offices.

It is individuals and small advocacy groups which are driving the charge.

Moms travel to Washington and bloggers sprout up across the web, demanding that they be able to keep their children and families free of BPA. Or as free as is possible.

As a result, a small number of forward-thinking companies are listening, and offering us more and more BPA-free alternatives.

You can now buy baby bottles and water bottles which are BPA-free. And a few companies are anticipating the next round of pressure from their customers by offering us BPA-free cans for canned foods, BPA-free water cooler bottles and so on.

Are these companies required to do this by the FDA? No, they are not. They are doing it because it is good business to anticipate and address the needs and requests of one’s customers.

Effectively, then, the FDA is out of the loop, and in something of a time warp. While individuals and companies work to reduce our exposure to BPA, the FDA is still at the stage of grudgingly admitting that BPA in some plastics might be a cause for concern.

According to the FDA’s website, “The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.”

But that doesn’t appear to be what they actually do.

A clue as to what is actually happening at the FDA can be found on their site’s Partnerships and Collaborations page.

“The FDA will give preference to ideas and proposals which will enhance the delivery of mission-related FDA functions and do not require funding from the FDA.”

In other words, they like to partner with those who can bring their own funding to the table. Who could that be? Not individuals. Not small advocacy groups.

Partners who bring their own funding are far more likely to be large corporations and industry associations. Therein lies the reason why the FDA is so extraordinarily slow to respond to public health and safety concerns, like the impact of BPA.

The FDA is in bed with both the public and the chemical industry. And the chemical industry comes to bed with a lot of cash in hand.