A Chemical Scare Campaign Is Good Business for Some

Last month, the Statistical Assessment Service (STATS), a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization affiliated with George Mason University, released "Science Suppressed: How America became obsessed with BPA," a report which accuses the media "of ignoring the extensive research of respected scientists and major health agencies in the United States and around the world, which found BPA was not only safe but played an important role in ensuring food safety."   It also confirms what countless previous studies have said; BPA is safe.

If you're unfamiliar with Bisphenol A (BPA), it is a chemical used to make lightweight, versatile, durable, high-performance plastics.  It's also one of the most extensively tested products in the world.  For example, as  Norris Alderson, the FDA's associate commissioner for science, said just last year, "a large body of available evidence" demonstrates that products made with it are safe. 

And as recently as July 15 of this year, a regulatory board in the liberal state of California, composed of seven physicians, unanimously voted that "BPA should not be covered under Proposition 65, a voter-approved measure used by regulators to identify substances that can cause birth defects, developmental or reproductive harm."

Don't trust America?  The latest research by Health Canada (essentially, their FDA), demonstrated that you would have to drink 1000 liters of bottled water a day -- an amount that is literally impossible -- in order to approach the amount they deem to be the "tolerable daily intake" for the chemical Bisphenol A.

Despite countless studies demonstrating that BPA is safe, reporters, environmentalists, and liberal politicians continue to make hay out of this political issue.  Sadly, this results in scaring parents who fear for their children's safety, harming plastics companies who manufacture products made with BPA (like EvenFlo in my home state of Ohio), and causing parents to spend considerably more money on inferior products which lack BPA.

So why is this witch hunt happening?

Until recently, this appeared to be nothing more than a typical attempt by liberals to go after business and manufacturing.  But as several bloggers have recently pointed out, there appears to be a more sinister motive.  You see, the radical environmental groups who fundraise off of this issue, the trial lawyers who line their pockets with class action lawsuits against BPA manufacturers, and the Democratic politicians who score political points by attacking BPA all have one thing in common:  They all share the same PR guru -- David Fenton.

If the name David Fenton of Fenton Communications sounds familiar, it may be because he's the guy who invented the 'General Betray Us' ad campaign that MoveOn.org used to attack General Petreaus.

As North Dakota blogger Rob Port of the Say Anything Blog recently wrote, the one common denominator that all the anti-BPA forces share is Fenton Communications:

Putting aside the fact that the claims were entirely bogus, the fear campaign against BPA was a brilliant business move for Fenton -- and a win/win/win for liberals. David Fenton, of course, is a liberal activist. He represents many radical environmental groups like the San Francisco-based Tides Foundation, who could benefit from creating a bogey man. And he also represents trial lawyers, who could make millions by bringing about class action lawsuits against the manufacturers of plastics. Lastly, trial lawyers are major donors to Democratic politicians, so getting them on board was easy. And plastics competitors who didn't use BPA could now charge absurd prices for their products at upscale stores like Whole Foods, based on the fact that their product (though more expensive) was ostensibly "safer."

No parent worth their salt would ever risk exposing their child to a product if there were even a remote chance it could hurt them -- which is precisely why these attacks are so virulent.  Falsely accusing BPA of harming children is the kind of attack that can destroy businesses and industries -- as if we could afford that right now.  Sadly, it appears that these attacks were not mistakes made with the best of intentions, but rather, a racket designed to put money in the pockets of liberal special interests.

Ken Blackwell is a former US Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and a senior fellow at the Family Research Council.
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