Friday, May 14, 2010


Bis-Phenol A BPA) seems to be assuming larger than life size because of the raging controversy regarding its presence in some foods due to contamination from the plastic food containers and packaging materials used by the industry. Based on available scientific data many countries have banned BPA use in plastics and limits have been imposed on the maximum tolerable levels in processed food products. It is almost disgusting to see large industrial conglomerates affected financially by the ban, trying to lobby and pressurize the US government not to set limits for BPA in foods

"The food industry response is the latest obstacle in a regulatory history that's been hobbled by BPA's powerful producers. In a Fast Company article last year, David Case described how five major U.S. companies used "Big Tobacco's tactics to sow doubt about science and hold off regulation of BPA." Industry-funded studies that touted the benign nature of the additive butted against independent ones that found it harmful to humans. According to Case, only five companies manufacture BPA in the U.S.: Bayer, Dow, Hexion Specialty Chemicals, SABIC Innovative Plastics (formerly GE Plastics), and Sunoco. In 2007, these companies made 7 billion pounds of the substance. Together, their BPA sales bring in more than $6 billion a year".

"The food industry's threat to boycott the bill has kicked health activists, parent groups, and environmental non-profits into gear. These groups have issued statements reminding Congress that BPA restrictions have been enacted in five states and are under consideration in 13 more. They have also cited the Center for Disease Control report that 93 percent of Americans' urine contains BPA, most likely contracted from food containers".

"Some countries and manufacturers have already taken action. In April of 2008, Canada became the first country to ban the chemical. In March 2009, six major U.S. baby bottle manufacturers stopped using BPA, and House and Senate leaders proposed the first legislation to ban it. In March, the Environmental Protection Agency declared BPA a "chemical of concern." Also in the works for this year is a World Health Organization assessment of the effects of BPA exposure on very young children and further research from the EPA and the National Institutes of Health".

A redeeming feature of the on-going tussle is that the user industries, some of them international leaders in their own fields are voluntarily shunning use of BPA containing packing materials, probably fearing a backlash from their consumers. Many baby bottle manufacturers are also avoiding use of BPA containing materials like poly carbonates which were once the industry standard, for fabrication of baby bottles.

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