Contact: Kathryn St. John (202) 249-6513  

Very small sample-size study incapable of showing cause-and-effect relationship

WASHINGTON (March. 3, 2014) - The American Chemistry Council (ACC) offers the following comments regarding the study published today in PLOS ONE by the Cincinnati Cancer Center researchers Pheruza Tarapore, et al. Quotes from the following may be attributed to Steven G. Hentges, Ph.D. of ACC's Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group.

"Cancer touches the lives of far too many, and well-designed research is essential to understanding the causes and cures for cancer. Unfortunately, this very small study fundamentally misinterprets well-understood facts about how BPA is processed in the body, and inappropriately interprets a statistical association to suggest that recent BPA exposure is a key predictor of prostate cancer. The statistical association was based on only 30 study participants, a remarkably small number on which to base claims about an important disease.  Apparently based on the same misunderstanding about how BPA is processed in the body, the authors further suggest that recent exposure to BPA may interfere with the important and well-established PSA test for prostate disease, resulting in misdiagnosis. Scientific study on the potential causes of prostate cancer is important and welcome, but this study is more likely to misguide research on the causes of cancer.

"The fundamental flaw in this report is the authors' complete misunderstanding of important analysis from the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on interpretation of BPA exposure measurements from single urinary spot samples. Because BPA is processed quickly in the body and eliminated, measuring BPA levels at one point in time provides essentially no information about BPA levels at an earlier time period. In direct contrast, the authors suggest that a single urine sample collected from study participants when prostate cancer is diagnosed could represent their exposures when prostate cancer initiated and developed, which likely would have been many decades earlier. This suggestion is absolutely contrary to the analysis from CDC and, accordingly, this study has no capability to establish a cause-and-effect relationships from the reported statistical associations.

"Many  government bodies around the world have evaluated the  scientific evidence on BPA and have declared it safe as used in food contact materials. For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June of 2013, responded to the question, ' Is BPA safe? ' with one unambiguous word: 'Yes.'  FDA recently released the results of a comprehensive subchronic toxicity study, one of the largest studies ever conducted on BPA and the results were published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature a few weeks ago. The lead FDA researcher says the results of this recent study 'both support and extend the conclusion from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that BPA is safe as currently used.'

"Additionally, other robust research funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and conducted by scientists at FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the government's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, ( Teeguarden et al. ) found that, because of the way BPA is processed in the body, it is very unlikely that BPA could cause health effects at any realistic exposure level."

Polycarbonate/BPA Global Group of ACC  |  Facts About BPA |


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