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Government wasted millions of taxpayer dollars in a fight with itself over food packaging safety

Several conservative groups have asked incoming House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) to help end a fight within the federal government over food packaging safety — a fight that has already cost taxpayers more than $170 million.

Groups like Americans for Tax Reform, Citizens Against Government Waste, and the National Taxpayers Union wrote to Chaffetz Wednesday to say the National Institutes of Health has handed out $172 million in grants over the last 14 years to study the safety of bisphenol A, or BPA.

soda The government disagrees with itself over whether food and beverage packaging is safe, and is charging taxpayers millions to debate the issue internally.
Image: Shutterstock

That money has been handed out even though the Food and Drug Administration has found repeatedly that BPA is safe to use for food and beverage packaging.

The letter said about $120 million of NIH grants have been handed out in the last five years, at the same time a top official at NIH has emerged who seems sympathetic to the idea that BPA is dangerous to humans. The groups said handing out the money amounts to a huge waste of resources at a time when annual budget deficits soared to record highs.

"[W]e are particularly outraged when one agency hands out more than $120 million in research grants that can be used in an attempt to undermine and reverse the statutorily authorized regulatory work and conclusive scientific findings of another taxpayer-funded agency," the letter said.

The groups said the FDA has determined BPA to be safe since the 1960s, and that even European food safety officials agree that "the level of BPA that consumers of all ages are exposed to is well below the estimated level of safe exposure."

"We would appreciate your assistance in having the Oversight and Government Reform Committee investigate NIEHS grants and how they are being utilized, as well as the 'duel' between the NIH and FDA concerning BPA," it said. Read the full letter here:

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