MU Scientist’s BPA Research Challenges Earlier BPA Criticisms

A breakthrough in the world of BPA research gives consumers another reason to question the legitimacy of scientific studies that criticize BPA.

A researcher at the University of Missouri spent 3 years attempting to replicate earlier studies that were performed at Duke and the University of Michigan. The Missouri study concludes that “the previous series of studies are not reproducible,” according to a news article posted to ScienceDaily. That article, Previous Studies On Toxic Effects of BPA Couldn’t Be Reproduced, reports that the previous studies “claimed that exposure to BPA … resulted in yellow coat color, or agouti, offspring that were more susceptible to obesity and type 2 diabetes compared to their brown coat color, healthy siblings.”

According to ScienceDaily, researcher Cheryl Rosenfeld, an MU professor of biomedical sciences, “extended the studies to include animal numbers that surpassed the prior studies to verify that their findings were not a fluke…However, even these additional numbers of animals and extended experiments failed to reproduce the earlier findings.”

Rosenfeld’s study has been published to the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Her research relied on funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and an MU program called “Food for the 21st Century,” along with the MU’s Office of Animal Resources, both of which are also funded by NIH.

Rather than putting an end to the huge amounts of money being poured into this unfounded war on BPA, it’s likely that this newest study will create yet another cycle of pricey – taxpayer-subsidized – research. Think about it: if the link that ties BPA to adverse affects is challenged, academics who rely on grants for their research will seek new grants, in a never-ending battle to create hype and consumer scare – thus, keeping themselves relevant, their tenure secure, their prestige at campus cocktail parties high, their studies funded, and their pockets lined with higher salaries.

Coincidentally, BPA is a familiar topic at MU: science professor Fredrick VomSaal is a longstanding critic of BPA. VomSaal is on the record speculating, falsely, that using a shatterproof baby bottle to feed an infant is the equivalent to giving the baby a birth control pill (Read more about VomSaal here, in a piece by Henry Miller for the American Spectator).

Alan Caruba over at the esteemed BPA File has also posted the ScienceDaily article. Stay tuned for more on this latest development – and remember to read any and all science news and research with a critical eye.

ABC grudgingly reports Canadian decision

The safety of BPA in food packaging has been reaffirmed by the Canadian government and major media including ABC News are picking up on the story.  But are they being honest in their reporting?

The ABC piece, Canadian Government Backs BPA in Food Containers, is worth a few minutes of your time. Read it here. But strangely enough, in the multitude of news reports on this topic, you’re likelier to see Big Foot than you are to see a statement from a regulator or expert defending BPA.

Ever notice how sloppy journalists love to trumpet the latest “findings” of junk science with multiple quotes from multiple BPA chemophobes while any voice of reason is relegated to the bottom of the article if it’s reported at all?  Now, when the Canadian government declares BPA safe for food applications, the media round up the usual suspect to disparage the decision – not because of science, but because of an almost evangelical opposition to a chemical that has been safely used for decades and  subject to more than 5,000 studies, none of which has ever shown harm from normal consumer exposure to BPA.

These sloppy reporters are as bad as the replacement referees in the National Football League for the first three weeks of the season.  Unfortunately, these reporters are the regular refs.

A scientific excuse to eat all the chocolate you like – right?

A Reuters article provides an excellent illustration of how easy it is to create a correlation where none exists.

Titled Eat chocolate, win Nobel prize?, this article cites a study that suggests countries whose citizens consume greater amounts of chocolate produce a higher number of Nobel laureates. Indeed, this study, conducted by Dr Franz Messerli and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, measures the number of Nobel laureates a country produces, as compared to the amount of chocolate a country’s citizens consume.

The article touches on the idea that correlation is not the same as causation, noting

It’s not the first time scientists have found correlations that seem to defy all logic – and indeed may. The number of storks across Europe has been linked to birthrates, for instance, and sunspots have been tied to suicides in men.

Interestingly, Messerli “admits” the possibility “that chocolate isn’t making people smart, but that smart people who are more likely to win Nobels are aware of chocolate’s benefits and therefore more likely to consume it.”  This is positively absurd!

So what, exactly, does this study – and countless others like it – seek to measure? And perhaps the scarier question – what comes next? A taxpayer-subsidized analysis of Spaghetti-O consumption as compared to SAT scores? This example shows how desperate some folks are for a headline, and while they advance the careers of some researchers, they’re doing little to advance actual science.