For the past six years, scientific controversy has swirled around a once obscure chemical, bisphenol A - BPA for short. Used in the linings of cans to protect food and drink from spoilage, BPA has been "associated" with all manner of health problems in the media, and environmental groups have campaigned for it to be banned. But at the same time, regulatory agencies, such as the US Food and Drug Administration, and the European Food Safety Authority have refused to ban the chemical - insisting it is safe at the level of human exposure. Why is there such a disconnect?

Dr. Richard Sharpe is one of the world's leading experts on the risks to humans from exposure to chemicals in food and the environment and is based at one of the oldest, independent research institutes in the world, the British Medical Council. In a wide-ranging interview at a recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he explains why fears about BPA are wildly misplaced. The public has simply not been exposed to the whole scientific story - and that the anti-BPA crusade is not only damaging academic integrity and our regulatory system, it threatens to discredit environmental science just at the point where it can provide real insights on human health. Read it at Forbes.com




Trevor Butterworth writes about science and technology for Newsweek and Forbes.com