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How the FDA allows dangerous chemicals to be used in food packaging

It sounds like a fine idea: "Good Laboratory Practice." But critics say that reliance on this standard of scientific test by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has allowed dangerous chemicals to be used in foods and food packaging.

The nonprofit group 100 Reporters has this interesting story, Good Practice v. Good Science, researched and written by Clare Howard.

An excerpt:

In a recent decision to permit continued use of a chemical in food packaging that research has tied to cancer, diabetes, miscarriages and developmental delays in children, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has favored two industry-funded studies over more than 1,000 independent analyses finding the chemical poses serious risks to human health.

The FDA’s decision on bisphenol A was not an isolated, or even unusual, call. For more than 30 years, U.S. regulatory agencies have relied on an arcane rule for approving chemicals used in everything from food packaging and drugs to pesticides and electronics, one that favors industry-funded reports over independent academic research.

That process exalts studies that follow design standards known as “Good Laboratory Practice,” and discounts research that may be confirmed through peer review, but do not follow the GLP protocols. Favoring GLP has given a green light to hundreds of chemicals and products from nicotine to atrazine linked to human disease and chronic health conditions.

Critics contend that the protocols, defended by the chemical industry, have become an arbitrary barrier, shutting out important independent research. In the case of BPA, a common chemical used in food packaging, adherence to the protocol largely overrode studies linking BPA to breast cancer, prostate abnormalities, low sperm count, developmental disorders, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

Read the full story at 100 Reporters.