The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's refusal last month to rule on the safety of the chemical bisphenol A, colloquially known as BPA, is a terrible decision. The agency's failure to act responsibly and in a timely fashion likely puts the health of millions of Americans -- especially the young -- at risk for a variety of illnesses, including diabetes and cancer.
It's not the first time the FDA has dilly-dallied on the subject. The agency has had numerous opportunities to restrict or, better yet, ban the use of the chemical. It is found in innumerable consumer products, including baby bottles, water bottles, dental sealants and the lining of metal canned food containers. Delay, if not denial, has been the agency's preferred course of action.
During the Bush administration, the FDA argued that additional research was needed to make an informed decision about BPA.