IHS Chemical Week


Following the BPA Money

2:41 PM MDT | June 15, 2009 | By VINCENT VALK

The science on the risks of BPA is, at best, inconclusive. If anything, it suggests that the product is relatively harmless, though it probably merits further investigation. The rest is just noise – to wit:

A just-released study by research group Statistical Assessment Service (STATS) blames that straw man of straw men, "the media," for the rather sudden public outcry over BPA. Now, there may well be some truth to that, but, being a member of "the media," I'm always skeptical when someone wants to blame the media" for perceived ills, as it is merely a collection of individuals and is hardly monolithic (the same could be said, in my opinion, for "big business" or "academia"). So I did a little digging about STATS, which bills itself as "a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization affiliated with George Mason University."

SourceWatch informed me that STATS is, in fact, also closely affiliated with the Center for Media and Public Affairs, which receives most of its money from conservative benefactors (ditto for George Mason University). Considering the study's results, this is unsurprising, however, it raises yet another question: who is behind SourceWatch?

It's the Center for Media and Democracy (new rule: beware of the centers-for-media-and-anything), which, by its own admission, is "progressive." This does not mean that they are lying, or ill-intentioned – and, indeed, they'd appear to be more reliable than a business-funded group, seeing as they've got no skin in the game – but they do, pretty clearly, have an agenda.

So where does this leave the STATS BPA study? Is it the bogus work of a right-wing front group, or a legitimate criticism of media bias run amok? Both, and neither – the conclusion is worth considering, but it's hardly the final word. In a world where everyone has an agenda, nothing is.

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