March 05, 2012
Image via Wikipedia
In late February, French lawmakers voted
to ban the use of Bisphenol-A (BPA)
in all food packaging. It was a gutsy move, putting the health of
Europeans ahead of big-business interests.
Better still, it may give the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
the nudge it needs to likewise vote to keep BPA away from Americans’
food and drinks.
BPA, an industrial chemical so ubiquitous it has been found in the
urine of 93 percent of Americans, according to the
Endocrine-Related Cancer Journal,
mimics the female hormone estrogen. In studies, it has been linked
to reproductive problems, prostate and other cancers, and problems
in fetal brain development.
study from Harvard’s School of Public Health
found a link between behavioral issues in preschool-age girls and
mothers with high BPA levels - the higher the mothers’ BPA levels,
the worse their daughters rated on standard behavior tests.
The FDA has said it will decide by March 31 whether BPA should be
banned from all U.S. food and beverage packaging - not because of
the French ban, which will make exports of U.S. products such as
meats, juices and frozen seafood problematic, but because of a 2008
lawsuit filed against the FDA by the National Resources Defense
The NRDC filed a petition with the FDA, asking it to ban the use of
BPA in food packaging.
According to the NRDC, the FDA, which is
legally mandated to respond to written petitions within 180 days,
ignored the petition, prompting the NRDC to file a suit, requiring
it to respond.
“Now, the FDA has agreed to give us
an answer - 41 months after the petition was filed,” the NRDC’s
Sarah Janssen wrote in a
December blog post.
After baby bottles warmed in microwaves
were found to release BPA into infants’ milk,
the chemical was banned from
bottles by the European Union and Turkey, among other
countries, in 2008
Canada had already banned BPA in
bottles in 2007
Denmark has banned BPA in all
baby food products
the entire Japanese canning
industry has replaced its BPA resin can liners
The U.S., however, still allows BPA in
baby bottles, though,
...have enacted state-level regulations
Colorado is working on it.
While a desire to protect the most vulnerable Americans - infants -
hasn’t been motivation enough for the FDA, hopefully money will be.
The market for Florida’s juices to France alone is worth $21 million
A Feb. 6
USDA Foreign Agricultural Service report
on the potential impact of the French ban on U.S. exports explains
that BPA works to strengthen plastics, is used as a resin to protect
metal containers from corrosion, and is used on the metal lids of
Dow Chemical and
Bayer AG, produce “the bulk of BPA
in world,” says the USDA report, and it estimates that,
“most if not all canned drinks,
canned foods as well as many drinks and food in plastic
containers are in contact with BPA.”
Products primarily affected by the ban,
… will be beverages, notably the
Florida orange and grapefruit juice using plastic container;
France is the second largest market for Florida juices with 21
million dollars sales. [sic]
Imported beer will also be targeted
by this action. In addition, any product that contains a plastic
packaging or a plastic component may be affected by this law.
Frozen seafood and meat products are
most likely using BPA in their packaging, as well as packers for
bulk dried fruit and dried legume. That means to say that it
affects the majority of the manufactured, frozen and fresh
U.S. brands including,
Edward & Son
Wild Planet Foods
Oregon’s Choice Gourmet
...already use BPA-free containers for
some or all of their products, and,
...have begun a move in that direction,
according to the report, suggesting there are already a number of
models in place and ditching BPA isn’t terribly difficult or
For smart companies, there’s even a
marketing opportunity in it.
Some believe fears about BPA are
overstated, but the ease with which BPA levels in the body can be
increased is well documented.
A November 2011
Harvard study, for example, gave
one group of volunteers canned soup for lunch and another group
fresh soup; after just five days, the group eating canned soup had a
more than 1,000 percent increase in BPA in their urine.
Even within hours of a single meal,
researchers saw a notable jump.
“The magnitude of the rise in
urinary BPA we observed after just one serving of soup was
unexpected,” Karin Michels, senior author of the study, said in
While the rise in BPA concentrations may
be temporary, Michels added, the report’s findings could be of
“among individuals who regularly
consume foods from cans or drink several canned beverages
The new French law will go into effect
Jan. 1, 2014.
Let’s hope a similar U.S. law follows
shortly behind it.
Campbell’s Drops BPA in Response to Health
by Anthony Gucciardi
March 9, 2012
After their products were confirmed to
have some of the highest BPA levels among canned foods tested in
independent research, consumers have been calling upon Campbell’s to
stop using bisphenol A (BPA) in their popular canned soups.
Linked to breast cancer in over 130
studies as well as diabetes, hardening of the arteries, and
depression, BPA is comprising the health of many. Despite this
scientific evidence, Campbell’s and some stubborn public health
organizations still continue to assert that BPA is completely
Nonetheless, the company is making the
move in response to the powerful concerns raised by consumers and
health advocates alike, representing a major victory and
highlighting the power of vital health activism.
The news comes just after it was announced that the FDA may soon
ban the usage of BPA within the
With the final decision coming by March
31, the agency said that it is actually considering a ban on BPA
usage in all food packaging. It is not yet certain if the FDA will
follow through with the decision, as it took the organization 41
months to even respond to the original petition calling for the ban.
In fact, the FDA says that the potential
U.S. ban of BPA originally dates back to a 2008 lawsuit filed
against the FDA by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
After not answering for an absurd number of months despite
regulations requiring the agency to respond after a 180 day maximum
time period, court intervention brought upon by the NRDC has finally
forced the agency to answer.
Now, the final notice will be known at
the end of the month. The report comes at a time where many nations
are taking action against BPA, with France banning the use of BPA in
all food packaging back in February.
Many other countries besides France have already taken direct action
against BPA to protect the health of citizens:
The European Union, Turkey, and
other nations banned BPA from baby bottles as far back as
In 2007, Canada took a stand
against BPA and banned it from baby bottles
Denmark has banned BPA in baby
Japan has taken action against
using BPA in can linings
Campbell’s removing BPA from their
products is a result of real activism, protecting the consumer in
the absence of FDA action through grassroots initiatives.
With BPA being removed from the
industry, it is now time to target mercury-filled high-fructose corn
genetically modified foods.