Campbell ‘s Soup is dropping bisphenol A—BPA—from its packaging amid a growing debate regarding the safety of the ubiquitous, estrogenic plastics chemical.
Although the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has long maintained—since the 1960s, according to Bloomberbg.com—that BPA is safe at current levels, it must issue a reassessment this weekend concerning the chemical’s fate in food and beverage packaging. In 2008, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) petitioned the FDA to ban BPA in food and beverage packaging. The Council received no response and sued the agency, winning a court settlement in December that forced the FDA to reassess whether or not BPA should be banned. Douglas Karas, an FDA spokesman, declined to comment to Bloomberg.com on the petition. Meanwhile, the National Institutes of Health said that BPA may affect the development of young and unborn children, noted Bloomberg.com.
A $60 million industry, the can industry would be hurt if BPA is immediately banned in food and beverage packaging. Because of this, Campbell Soup Co. and HJ Heinz Co. are cutting its use of the compound in advance of any decision, said Bloomberg.com. “In investment terms, it’s all about what the consumer thinks,” Alexia Howard, a New York-based analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, told Bloomberg.com. “Over time, we will see a decline in the use of cans.”
BPA is a compound that uses a combination of phenol and acetone, entering food when it leeches from food and beverage containers, explained Bloomberg.com. As we’ve long explained, BPA is the most commonly utilized estrogenic mimicker and is found in many, many consumer products, making the debate over this chemical significant. BPA leaches into products, whether heated or cold, and into the skin, from every day items such as paper money, toilet paper, and receipts.
Food and beverage manufacturers use BPA in can coatings to extend the shelf life of foods, noted Bloomberg.com. A 2003-2004 survey of 2,517 people conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that BPA was in the urine of nearly every participant.
Although soup giant Campbell believes BPA is safe, spokesman Anthony Sanzio told Bloomberg.com, “We also recognize there has been debate over the use of BPA,” he said. “We are committed to making the transition as feasible alternatives are identified for each product.” ConAgra Foods Inc., which makes Chef Boyardee and Slim Jims, has also removed the chemical from some of its Hunt’s tomato products and is looking at alternatives for its other lines, said spokeswoman Teresa Paulsen, wrote Bloomberg.com. Heinz has begun moving to BPA-free cans, said spokesman Michael Mullen. Coca-Cola Co. is not changing its can linings, said spokesman Petro Kacur.
This month, we wrote that BPA may impact uterine health, citing a new study on the industrial chemical that also found that BPA not only affects the heart, brain, and nervous system, the chemical could also affect a mammal’s ability to reproduce, altering the uterus in structural ways that can lead to a potentially deadly infection.
Another recent study revealed a link between BPA exposure and future cardiac issues and followed a similar study that yielded similar results. Another study on which we wrote revealed that small amounts of synthesized substances, such as BPA, are sufficient to mix up the body’s hormones and can trick our fat cells into taking in more fat or confusing the pancreas into releasing too much insulin. Insulin is the hormone responsible to regulate the breakdown of fat and carbohydrates in the body.
We’ve also written about at least two BPA-breast cancer links and links to increased anxiety and depression in preschoolers exposed to BPA in the womb. BPA has been linked to toxic injury and implications in cardiovascular disease, intestinal problems, brain cell connection interference, increased risks of reproductive and immune system diseases and disorders, problems with liver function testing, interruptions in chemotherapy treatment, premature puberty, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and other female fertility and endocrine issues, and erectile dysfunction and male sexual problems in males as young as the developing fetus.