The evidence against the safety of Biphesnol-A (BPA) – an epoxy based lining used in the packaging of many food and drink products – is staggering. Many researchers and scientists have studied this chemical and found it to be clearly disruptive to normal cell growth and reproduction, as well as messing with hormones. Yet, the FDA has recently chosen to ignore the mountains of research and has now subtly cleared BPA for use in food cans.
Using this publication as a thumbs up, American can maker trading groups are spreading news of the FDA’s apparent approval as far and wide as anyone will listen. This is only natural, since without the FDA’s approval, these same groups would have to spend a lot of money reformulating and re-engineering the can manufacturing process – a $126.3 billion dollar industry as of 2014.
In recent years, many food and container packaging companies have made an effort to phase BPA out of their products to assure the public of their product safety. For example, baby bottle manufacturers no longer use BPA in their bottles. Likewise, popular reuseable water bottle manufacturer Sigg reformulated the epoxy inner liners of their bottles in 2009 after admitting that the old liners contained trace amounts of BPA.
The canning industry, however, has taken a different approach. Instead of denying that their products contain BPA, they instead focus on claiming that BPA poses no danger to the general public. In fact, the North American Metal Packaging Alliance says boldly that “the extremely low levels of BPA found in canned foods do not present a health risk to children or adults.”
But many researchers and medical authorities disagree on this one. The difference between the FDA and canning industry’s claims, and the growing body of medical research available on BPA, isn’t the question of whether BPA is toxic. Everybody agrees that it is. However, – whereas the FDA and canning manufacturers insist on measuring toxicity by how much of a chemical can cause widespread organ and tissue damage or cause cancer, the medical researchers are focusing on the initially subtle yet permanent damage that endocrine disrupting chemicals can cause in small amounts, and its long term devastating effects on human health.
We may never know exactly what the FDA’s motivation is, but this kind of approach in the face of solid research is not a good way to gain trust from the public. In the meantime, it is probably a good idea to steer clear of BPA for your health.