Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Memo to the FDA: Please Correct Errors on Your Website

The FDA website includes several glaring errors on its Established List of Harmful and Potentially Harmful Constituents in Tobacco Products or Tobacco Smoke (here).  For example, the list wrongly identifies acrylamide as both a respiratory and a cardiovascular toxicant.  It is neither of these.  It is a probable human carcinogen, according to IARC, and it was correctly labeled in the list published in the federal register (here).  I recently collaborated with scientists from BAT to publish a comprehensive analysis of acrylamide in smokeless tobacco products from Sweden and the U.S. (here).  Our study showed that it is present in all products we tested, but “exposure… from consumption of smokeless tobacco products is small compared with exposure from food… or cigarette smoking.”

Other agents on the list are also incorrectly classified: acetone, acrolein, acrylonitrile and aflatoxin B1.  Another, acetamide, was omitted completely.

I described the problem to an FDA staffperson in late September, and she told me that a technical specialist would call back.  That did not happen, and the agency web page has not been corrected.

Government communications, including web resources, should contain accurate information.

Update, December 1, 2015: I am pleased to report that today the FDA corrected the webpage errors identified in this entry.  My compliments to agency officials.

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