another experiment in vom Saal's lab, Howdeshell
et al. discovered that females exposed in the womb to
comparable levels of BPA reach puberty early.
low levels of contamination which under traditional concepts
of toxicology would have been unlikely even to have been tested.
Because of vom Saal's long history of work with low level effects
of natural hormones in the womb (see OSF, Chapter 4), however, he
began to run experiments at these new levels. And he discovered
PR flacks and lawyers like Jim Lamb, and even industry scientists
like John Ashby (from Zeneca) have been unremitting in their criticisms
of vom Saal's research. They point to several industry attempts
to replicate vom Saal's experiments which failed, and claim that
this failure means that vom Saal's work is unreliable. A review
of the most
highly publicized industry study, however, reveals that it is
their incompetence which led to the failures. Moreover, two independent
laboratories have now found results similar to vom Saal's, one in
Japan, one in the US.
In May 2000 at a scientific meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, Ashby
reversed his long-standing position on vom Saal's work and stated:
"I would like to place on record that I am in no doubt about
the results that Fred vom Saal had found." [pS
et al. 2001.]
update: In March 2003, Welshons
et al. published an analysis suggesting that the two
main industry attempts to replicate vom Saal's work failed because
their control animals were inadvertently estrogenized by a contaminant,
and thus unable to respond normally to bisphenol A.
Saal's work ups the ante dramatically: his research focuses on the
effects at very low doses of compounds that currently are big sources
of income for a number of companies.
acceptable daily intake dose for bisphenol A--which generates revenues
on the order of $1 million per day worldwide--had been set by data
reported by the Society of Plastics Industry based on a no-effect
level of 50 milligrams/kg, or 50 parts per million. vom Saal's data
indicates the acceptable daily dose for this compound should be
at least 25,000 times lower than the current standard.
were levels thought completely irrelevant by traditional toxicology.
Unfortunately, they were also background levels... experienced by
many people living normal lives in the real world, not just (just)
individuals whose circumstances had them growing up beside a toxic
waste dump or exposed because by excesses of occupation.
is why vom Saal's research, and an increasing volume of data from
other laboratories asking questions about low level impacts, is
so important and challenging to current regulatory standards, and
via regulatory standards, to common practices in the chemical industy.
vom Saal's work shows that every
day levels matter.