Another Day for BPA

By: Michael Engle

Just recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration decided against banning bisphenol A, or BPA, from food packaging. This decision satisfied a legal settlement with the Natural Resources Defense Council, which originally presented the FDA with a petition to remove the chemical. The FDA's failure to ban the chemical should not be interpreted as a seal of approval; as a matter of fact, the FDA indicated that it would conduct further research on BPA.

BPA is commonly used to line food and beverage cans, in order to prevent the food or drink from reacting with the can and altering its taste.  Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola have already taken the initiative in attempting to engineer a BPA-free bottle, but they have not made the same progress with cans. At the same time, some manufacturers of baby bottles and "sippie cups" have stopped using BPA in their products, owing to statewide bans on BPA in these infant products.

Even though the chemical, in large quantities, is known to negatively affect brain development and reproductive fertility, scientists are attempting to determine exactly how much, and in what states, BPA actually enters the human body. This is an important question because the human body, in fact, can deactivate certain chemicals by way of the liver and intestine. It is also crucial to determine whether fetuses and newborns are susceptible to BPA poisoning.

Whether or not BPA is eventually banned or restricted, on a national level by the FDA, it is reasonable to predict that BPA will become less prevalent in the foods Americans purchase. As Americans become more and more educated about their food supply, they can initiate popular revolutions against products, as we currently see with "pink slime," as well as monosodium glutamate (MSG), a once-popular additive in westernized Chinese food. Meanwhile, certain manufacturers are preemptively re-engineering their "kids' products" to contain fewer chemicals. This is clearly a social cue from the organic movement, and a welcome one at that. After all, a shift towards a more natural paradigm would likely be beneficial to overall human health and food satisfaction.

Photo:Rubbermaid Products

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