AMA Adopts New Public Safety Policies at Annual Meeting

Jun 20, 2011, 19:23 ET from American Medical Association

CHICAGO, June 20, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Medical Association (AMA), the nation's largest physician group, voted today at its Annual Meeting to adopt the following new policies.


"BATH SALT" BAN: New policy adopted today by the AMA supports national legislation banning the synthetic substances known as "bath salts" that include methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV) and related compounds. These synthetic substances can cause paranoia, hallucinations and even violent behavior. 

"The misuse of 'bath salts' containing MDPV, mephedrone and related substances has led to deaths and hundreds of calls to poison centers nationwide," said AMA Board Member Edward Langston, M.D. "Some states have already implemented emergency bans and others have introduced legislation to ban these synthetic substances. The AMA's new policy supports a national ban on 'bath salts' containing these harmful compounds so that they cannot be misused."

BPA IN BABY BOTTLES AND INFANT CUPS: The AMA adopted policy today recognizing BPA as an endocrine-disrupting agent and urging that BPA-containing products with the potential for human exposure be clearly identified. The new policy also supports ongoing industry actions to stop producing BPA-containing baby bottles and infant feeding cups and support a ban on the sale of such products.  

Bisphenol A (BPA) became widely used in the manufacturing of polycarbonate plastics in the 1950s. Today, in addition to plastics, BPA is used in other consumer products, including the lining of canned food containers, cigarette filters, dental sealants, certain medical devices, and the coating of thermal and carbonless papers like cash register receipts. Although BPA is firmly established as an endocrine disruptor that can induce a variety of adverse effects in mammals, its safety continues to be disputed.

"Both the FDA and Canadian officials have recently expressed concern about potential harmful effects of BPA and taken interim actions to protect sensitive populations such as infants and toddlers by banning the sale of baby bottles, food containers, and cups containing BPA," said AMA Board Member Edward Langston, M.D. "The new policy adopted today supports these measures and a shift to a more robust, science-based federal regulatory framework for oversight of BPA."

MERCURY EMISSIONS FROM CEMENT PLANTS: The AMA today adopted policy that supports the EPA's national mercury emissions standards for cement kilns at limits based on the latest pollution control technology and supports stricter monitoring of mercury emissions from cement plants. Approximately 118 cement kilns emit over 11,000 pounds of mercury each year, making cement kilns one of the largest sources of mercury pollution. 

"Exposure to mercury can have adverse affects on human neurological development and is associated with reproductive toxicity and cardiovascular morbidity," said AMA Board Member Edward Langston, M.D. "New AMA policy supports stricter monitoring of mercury emissions from cement plants to lessen or eliminate the potential for Americans to be exposed to potentially harmful levels of mercury."

SAFETY OF AIRPORT SCANNERS: There is growing public concern about the use of full-body scanners that rely on ionizing radiation as part of new airport security measures, and whether or not repeated exposure to these scanners is potentially harmful. This weekend at its annual meeting, the AMA discussed the public health safety and efficacy of airport security scanners and determined there is currently little evidence to suggest one way or another if these scanners have adverse health effects on travelers, and more independent research needs to be done.

SOURCE American Medical Association