In an op-ed article published on November 14, 2013 Jon Entine, contributor to the business magazine Forbes, argues that plastics are not the culprit for reduced fecundity. Entine responds in his article to a study published at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) in October 2013 linking bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates to reduced male and female fecundity in 501 couples trying to become pregnant (Louis et al. 2013, previously reported on by the FPF). Both BPA and phthalates are found in plastic food packaging, in particular in polycarbonate (PC) and polyvinylchloride (PVC) plastics respectively. Whereas reproductive scientists embrace the precautionary principle and urge restrictions of the two chemicals, according to Entine, scientists from other disciplines contend that the links between chemicals and endocrine related diseases are largely exaggerated. Entine criticizes that the current study bases its results on urinary biomonitoring and did no differentiate among different phthalates. Further, he points out that Louis and colleagues did not find the same adverse effects across chemicals and sexes. He criticizes that, while scientists and regulators recognize these issues in epidemiological studies, journalists fail to make the adequate distinctions. Entine, points out that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) research organization is to issue an updated scientific review ordered by the U.S. Congress. In the light of the public debate on adverse effects of phthalates, Entine stresses that the CSPC should consider in its report the risk of possible substitutes in addition to the adverse effects of phthalates potentially being banned.
Jon Entine (November 14, 2013). “Can’t get pregnant? Blame it on plastics! Well, not if science matters.” Forbes.