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ACOG Opinion Creates Confusion for Pregnant Women


Contact: Kathryn St. John (202) 249-6513  
Email: Kathryn_StJohn@americanchemistry.com

Chemicals in consumer products are regulated by federal laws and new chemicals
must be approved by the EPA before they can be used in commerce

WASHINGTON (September 23, 2013)The following statement can be attributed to Jayne Morgan, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at the American Chemistry Council (ACC) in regard to the October 2013 Committee Opinion, “Exposure to Toxic Environmental Agents” from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and The University of California, San Francisco Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment:

“We support efforts to promote the health and well-being of pregnant women, infants and young children. We agree with the underlying premise of the Opinion that pregnant women and women who are trying to conceive should eat a healthy diet and be sensitive about the kinds of things they ingest or are exposed to. 

“However, we have serious concerns with the Opinion:

“We are disappointed that the Opinion takes scientific consensus about highly-regulated substances like mercury or lead, and applies the conclusions about safety to other substances that both science and federal regulators tell us are used safely in consumer products.

“We are concerned that the Opinion inappropriately draws conclusions based on biomonitoring data that ignores the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that just because a chemical is present in the body, doesn’t mean that it will cause effects or disease. 

“And, we are concerned that the Opinion includes references to specific chemicals, which are based on a limited number of flawed studies, and ignores thorough scientific assessments that demonstrate safe use of these substances. 

“For example, bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the most tested substances in use today and regulatory agencies around the world have repeatedly found that the evidence does not show a connection between typical exposure levels and health effects or disease. BPA is used to make the linings in food cans—food that’s an important source of nutrition for millions of Americans—to prevent contamination and food-borne illnesses. The FDA has examined this use and scientists at FDA tell us that the trace amounts we are exposed to from materials that keep our food safe, are safe for us.

“Women rely on their physicians for sound medical advice and access to reliable information. Creating confusion and alarm among expectant mothers will distract from the well-established steps doctors recommend to support a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. 

“Chemicals are regulated by nearly a dozen federal laws today, and any new chemical must be reviewed and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency prior to manufacture. We share the group’s interest in achieving policy reforms that will modernize and enhance federal chemical regulation. We are actively working with bipartisan leaders in Congress to achieve the first chemical regulatory reforms in decades, even as ACC member companies continuously improve industry product stewardship and safety programs.”

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