The English are ahead of the curve on this one. This year Breast Cancer UK, a non-profit organization based in England, wrote to large-scale food manufacturers and demanded details as to just how BPA is used in regard to the cans food is being packaged and sold in. This move follows the release of a report in the US that BPA is still widely used in cans by large-scale food manufacturers even though BPA has repeatedly been linked to health problems.
In the US report, 2/3 (66%) of almost 200 food cans tested were found to have tested positive for BPAs. The report funded by the US Breast Cancer Fund and other non-profits discovered in fact that even though most major food manufacturers foreswore the use of BPAs in their cans, the evidence was overwhelming that the use of BPAs was still heavy in that industry.
In a simpatico gesture, Breast Cancer UK has taken up the challenge based on the US report and placed it at the feet of the UK subsidiaries of the US companies as regulations and disclosure rules about food are much stricter in the UK and EU. Companies receiving the letter demanding information on BPA levels included global food giant Campbell’s. Breast Cancer UK is seeking a complete ban on any BPAs being used in “Food contact materials.”
British Food Safety admits that a minute amount of BPA can in fact “leech” into food from cans and packaging which contain BPA, especially if stored for long periods of time. The claim is that the body quickly absorbs, detoxifies, and eliminates the BPAs, and due to the minute amounts of BPA, there is no risk based on current guidelines. But those guidelines are in question. In fact, this year in January 2016 the European Commission began considering possible risk management steps for BPA following the publication of the European Food Safety Authority Opinion in early 2015.
BPA (Bisphenol-A) is a synthetic industrial grade chemical widely used on a global scale to make clear, hard food containers. These containers come in a wide array of sizes and shapes and are used as food containers, drink bottles, microwave oven containers, deli-supermarket-home food storage containers, water and milk bottles, and much more. BPA is also used to make the linings of cans (the white insides) for everything from soup to vegetables to fruit and to carbonated and alcoholic beverages.
BPA has been identified as an endocrine disruptor, a chemical that interferes with the normal operation of the human hormone system. Still, food safety and regulatory agencies worldwide such as European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the US Food and Drug Administration (USDA), and Health Canada (HC) say exposure at low levels is not harmful.
But some countries beg to differ. The French have banned any food packaging containing BPAs, but after a legal challenge by plastic manufacturers (makers of products containing BPAs), the French must allow BPA to be included in products manufactured in France but sold only for import outside of France. Countries across the globe from China to the US have completely banned BPAs in any baby bottles or baby food packaging, even in sippy cups and toddler plates and cutlery.
In 2015 the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) conducted an investigation of BPA, and BPAs were declared safe. But the EFSA is taking a second look since new research out of Holland shows that BPA can damage the immune system of young children and children in-utero.
This past February (2016) the European Union (EU) has proposed BPA classification be changed to Category 1B – Reprotoxin. A Reprotoxin is a chemical believed to have detrimental effects on the human reproductive system. The EU is expected to approval the reclassification late this year-early next, and that combined with the rise of Anti-BPA sentiment an across the board ban on BPAs could be coming to the EU and UK.
Breast Cancer UK is stating that there is a “significant amount of evidence” linking low level exposure to BPA and the development of cancer in breast tissue. Past studies have linked BPAs to breast cancer as well as prostate cancer and a variety of other diseases.
Breast Cancer UK recommends that you chose foods and beverages that are packaged in glass or other materials other than cans whenever possible to stop your body from being exposed to BPAs
Campbell’s has come forward and stated it will stop using BPAs in its packaging in the EU-UK by 2017. Nestle has already stopped using any BPAs in infant food packages and is moving towards eliminating BPAs from all EU-UK packaging.
But the Metal Packaging Manufacturers Association (MPMA) is digging in its heels stating, “BPA is possibly the most researched chemical compound ever and the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence, as repeatedly verified by regulatory authorities across the world, shows that the use of BPA in can lining poses no threat to human health.”