'Study': BPA hurts babies; Oops, sample size=1

We’ve seen it all at JunkScience.com, and this has to be some sort of new low.

In a new “study” published in the perpetual junk science machine known as Environmental Health Perpsectives, researchers blame bisphenol A (BPA) for causing neonatal neurobehaviorial abnormalities — based on the case of a single child.

Here’s the researchers’ rationale: the child’s mother reportedly had relatively urinary levels of BPA and the baby had developmental issues — so BPA is to blame. QJED.

It’s none of the myriad developmental factors that the researchers didn’t consider — it’s BPA… it’s appalling.

Notably, one of the study authors is Bruce Lanphear. JunkScience fans will remember Lanphear as a peddler of lead hysteria.

10 thoughts on “'Study': BPA hurts babies; Oops, sample size=1”

  1. Those incredibly enlightening “n=1” “studies” should instantly become the basis for new laws! Many new laws! And Total Expansion of EPA Regs! (If you don’t agree completely, then you must be a hated eco-criminal in The New Obammunist America.)

  2. Ben of Houston–

    This sort of thing goes on all the time. I did a piece some time ago about how the IARC decide to classify formaldehyde as a Group I carcinogen. Absolute crap.

    Here again, it is very difficult to make contrary points, since to do so requires some mention of science, and by just that, you’ve lost 90 percent of the people.

    The other problem is that –for the most part–industry does not fight back.

  3. After reading it, this is unconscionable. She had an absurd concentration of BPA in her urine on multiple tests with no known occupational or environmental sources. There is either something completely screwy (as in an actual leak that spiked her levels to actual toxicity), or she has an endocrine disorder which prevents her from getting rid of it. Either one could cause neurologic disorders in their own right.

    Plus, they calculated a 95% confidence level assuming no correlation between their named cofactors (poverty being the greatest) and neurologic disorders.

    Finally, they compare this to a mouse study with stated concentrations 100 times more than the woman in questionn, so different that it is uncomparable on its face.

    This isn’t even a study. This was a cherrypicked datapoint in a study. The study as a whole must have been null since it didn’t get reported, so they instead discussed an outlier in the data. Without identifying the cause of the BPA, they cannot make a case for causation.

  4. Sorry to not have a witty comment or one of my ordinary complaints here, but, can anyone direct me to an online site that realistically discusses the claims counterclains and support if any for this issue?

    My first job after I finished my degree was in an applied research job where we used tons (literally,) of this stuff and I would think if it was that horrible we’d all be dead. On the other hand it is tough for me to be convincing as I myself have extremely serious endocrine issues. Am I wrong to assume the two are unrelated as I always have?

  5. Steve and Barry–

    I’m a world-class cynic, and this one surprised even me. Environmental Health Perspectives is no doubt one of the worst journals. But at this point, with the exception of Cell, they all pretty much suck.

  6. These people are self-agrandizing notoriety nuts. They can draw attention to themselves and make a little money at the same time. It also fuels the illusion that they are “saving” something, (Munchausen syndrome). The media loves these scares as they draw reader/viewer attention and they never check out anything about them, nor publish any retraction or correction, unless it comes up as another “scare”.

    There are words and phrases that can help us identify junk science; “Some studies suggest”, “may”, “There is some evidence to suggest”, “Seems to indicate that”, “May have found a possible link”. Then there was the classic “vitamin” scare in Reader’s digest a few years back. “People who take ___ vitamins have a sixteen percent higher risk of dying!” Does that mean we would have 116 % risk of dying or only have an 84% chance of never dying? RD wouldn’t say.

    Growing up on a ranch I learned to smell it and see it before I stepped in it.

  7. Actually, it is a notch above most climate ‘science’, which has sample size of zero (being based entirely on computer models). But, that’s not saying much.

  8. *throws hands up and shrugs*
    I begin to believe that a pernicious bunch of space aliens is sitting out there beaming a stupid ray at the Earth.

    It’s working.

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