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Wild Green

Former Utne Reader senior editor Keith Goetzman on environmental issues from climate change to composting.

BPA Alternatives Harder to Find Than WMD

 by Keith Goetzman

Tags: Environment, bisphenol A, BPA, food, food safety, health, Washington Post, Keith Goetzman,

Foodmakers are having a tough time finding alternatives to bisphenol A, the chemical that’s been implicated in health issues and is used widely in the wares sold in your grocery store. The Washington Post recently described the frantic rush to find BPA alternatives among major food makers, who use it in container linings, but didn’t find any of them who wanted to go on the record about it:

Major food companies declined to talk publicly about their efforts to find a replacement for BPA linings. “We don’t have a safe, effective alternative, and that’s an unhappy place to be,” the source said. “No one wants to talk about that.”

The Food and Drug Administration has put off a decision on BPA to study it more, and it’s possible the agency will eventually ban the substance. To hear one WashPo source tell it, this isn’t the main issue—food makers are simply trying to preserve their slice of the market:

“It doesn’t matter what FDA says. If consumers decide they don’t want BPA, you don’t want it to be in a can that consumers don’t want to buy,” said one source at a major U.S. food company who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

But the unspoken subtext here is the threat of legal action: As Utne Reader reported last November, BPA may become a major cause for plaintiffs’ attorneys, and companies that stick with the chemical despite steadily mounting evidence of its harmful effects stand to lose not just market share but possibly millions of dollars in damages.

Source: Washington Post