Some Firms Act on BPA

While federal regulators decide on how to handle concerns surrounding <"">bisphenol A (BPA), some firms have opted to take matters into their own hands. BPA is a ubiquitous, hormone mimicking, plastics chemical.

Hundreds of studies have linked BPA to 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, premature puberty, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and erectile dysfunction and male sexual problems. BPA is found in the bodies of 93 percent of Americans and 90 percent of American newborns. A recent study on which we just wrote revealed that human exposure to the ubiquitous estrogenic polycarbonate chemical is significantly higher than previously believed and also originates from a greater array of sources, many of which remain unknown.

H.J. Heinz, ConAgra, and Hain Celestial have all started using BPA-free linings in some of their cans and have also put in place deadlines to eliminate BPA from all products, wrote USA Today, citing a report by Green Century Capital Management and As You Sow. Green Century is, wrote USA Today, an investment advisory firm; As You Sow is an environmental advocacy group.

The reported graded 26 companies on how they are phasing BPA out of their products and for their efforts’ transparency, said USA Today. Heinz, ConAgra, and Hain Celestial all received an A, noted USA Today. Meanwhile, companies such as Coca-Cola, Del Monte, Safeway, and Wal Mart, all received failing grades for not agreeing to eliminate BPA, added USA Today; Whole Foods earned a D+ because it failed to set a deadline. Many larger baby bottle manufacturers stopped using the chemical.

Last year, while just seven percent of firms set timelines to phase out BPA, this year, 32 percent have set timelines, according to the report, said USA Today. According to Joe Dickson of Whole Foods, 27 percent of its store-brand cans no longer contain BPA and the chain was one of the first to stop selling items containing BPA in 2006, said USA Today.

And, although the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Toxicology Program, which is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, have stated “some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior, and prostate gland of fetuses, infants, and young children,” the FDA has not implemented any steps to reduce BPA exposure, said USA Today.

We just wrote that the Canadian government has become the first to officially classify BPA as a toxin, and a number of entities, states, and countries have implemented bans and restrictions on BPA in certain products, including Connecticut; Maryland; Massachusetts; Minnesota; Vermont; Wisconsin; and Washington; Suffolk Counties and other counties in New York state; Denmark: France; Australia; and New Zealand. Canada was the first country to issue a BPA ban in 2008. Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it would be launching a study to look at the health effects of BPA, wrote TimesArgus.

BPA is known to imitate the hormone estrogen. Acting as an anti-androgen—anti-androgens are substances that block hormone activity—BPA affects sexual development and processes, especially in developing fetuses, infants, and children. Professor David Melzer, a scientist at Exeter University described BPA as “gender bending,” calling for BPA to undergo the same safety trials as emerging medications.

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