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By Elaine Shannon, AlterNet
September 15, 2008
The chemical industry has spent years trying to suppress information about a certain chemical. Will Congress help the public know the true dangers?
It takes a lot of nerve to go up against the $3 trillion-a-year global chemical industry.
Ask University of Missouri-Columbia scientists Frederick Vom Saal and Wade Welshons. They've been in the industry's crosshairs for more than a decade, since their experiments turned up the first hard evidence that miniscule amounts of bisphenol A (BPA), an artificial sex hormone and integral component of a vast array of plastic products, caused irreversible changes in the prostates of fetal mice.
Their findings touched off a steady drumbeat that has led to a ban on BPA-laden baby bottles in Canada, mounting support for a similar ban in the U.S., major retailers pulling plastic products off their shelves, a consumer run on glass baby bottles and a blizzard of scientific reports raising increasingly disturbing questions about the chemical's dangers at the trace levels to which people are routinely exposed.