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Study Released On Food Company Use Of BPA

by: JayinPhiladelphia

Sat May 02, 2009 at 15:02:38 PM PDT

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Green Century Capital Management and As You Sow have released a report, (pdf) "Seeking Safer Packaging", looking at how 20 major publicly-traded food companies are seeking to address public health concerns regarding use of the dangerous industrial chemical bisphenol A in their food packaging.  Of the 20 companies they sought out, 14 responded to their survey.  The study sought to determine whether the companies currently used BPA in their products, if they were currently studying alternatives to BPA, and if they planned to eventually phase out use of the chemical in their products.

The study included pretty much every major publicly-traded packaged foods manufacturer from what I can tell; however, it did not include small manufacturers or companies like Eden Foods, which currently only uses BPA in cans containing its tomato products.

The report finds that all companies surveyed use BPA, and only one company currently uses a BPA-alternative in some of its canned items.  The highest scoring company received a "C" overall, with the number 2 company receiving a "C-" and all others receiving a "D+" or lower.  Thirteen of the twenty companies (including the six who refused to respond) received "F"s.

More below the fold...

JayinPhiladelphia :: Study Released On Food Company Use Of BPA
The report states that...

  • 92 percent of all reports [evaluating BPA] funded independent from the chemical industry found adverse affects.18

  • 100 percent of the industry-funded scientific reports evaluating the risks of BPA exposure found no significant

source: Frederick S. vom Saal and Wade V. Welshons, "Large Effects From Small
Exposures. II. The Importance of Positive Controls in Low-Dose Research on
Bisphenol A." Environmental Research 100, January 2006.

...and also notes some already existing and widely-used substitutes for BPA -

  • Polyamide: Polyamide is used instead of BPA in hard plastic bottles. For example, Born Free sells BPA-free baby
    bottles using this honey-colored plastic.

  • Tritan copolyester: In 2008, Nalgene began using BPA-free Tritan copolyester in its hard plastic sports bottles.

  • In the U.S., Eden Foods uses a BPA-free can to pack all of its products except for tomatoes. The cans have a lining made from natural oils and resins.

There's a strong focus in the report (coming as it does from an investment company) on the risks to shareholders in the companies from failure to act before other companies do, and before any potential new regulations are instituted.  Will that get the companies to move though, when it's already been clearly demonstrated (at least here in the US) that the chemical and plastics industry can, for all intents and purposes, simply dictate policy themselves?

There's also a section at the end of the report detailing steps already taken by Eden Foods, Whole Foods Market and Nalgene in going BPA-free in the products they make and sell.

Nice read, check it out if you get a chance.  If you just want to take a quick look at the overall scorecard listing company names and grades, it appears here.

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All I have to say is (4.00 / 2)
Jesus Christ.

What are these companies thinking? And as much as I think its a matter of ethics and doing the right thing to ditch BPA and find safer substances for packaging, I also agree that it's a business risk now that its an issue getting coverage in the media. It's just a dumb way for companies to leave themselves open to getting a lot of really bad press (like this diary!) and hurting their images.

"I can understand someone from Iowa promoting corn and soy, but we are not feeding the world, we are feeding animals and soft drink companies." - Jim Goodman

What ever happened (4.00 / 1)
to glass baby bottles?  I remember them (this means I'm old) I have some (this means I'm not that old.)  We have a local discount store here that carries soup in glass jars.  It's not that cheap and it's a Polish import.  But it's there.

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