Photo credit: Supreme Court Pediment by Flickr.com user Kevin Harber

How Lobbyists Are Spinning Weak Science to Defend BPA

They're arguing that a new study shows canned foods to be safe, even when lined with BPA. The problem? That's not what the study says. The latest skirmish in the battle over bisphenol A (BPA) -- the synthetic chemical used to make polycarbonate plastics, to make the epoxy resins that line food and beverage cans, and as developers in thermal receipt papers -- came last week when the Breast Cancer Fund, an Oakland-based non-profit, released the results of its testing for BPA in canned food marketed to children (PDF). The report found BPA in Campbell's Disney Princess Cool Shapes, Toy Story Fun Shapes Pasta in chicken broth, Spaghettios With Meatballs, Earth's Best Organic Elmo Noodlemania Soup, Chef Boyardee Whole Grain Pasta Mini ABCs &123s With Meatballs, and Annie's Homegrown Organic Cheesy Ravioli at levels that ranged between 13 and 114 parts per billion, levels that have been shown to be biologically active, meaning they're high enough to interact with and affect our cells. In response, the North American Metal Packaging Alliance (NAMPA), a trade association representing the food-and-beverage metal-packaging industry, fired off a press release citing a study ostensibly showing that there's no health risk from BPA exposure through canned food. "This comprehensive, first-of-its-kind clinical exposure study, funded entirely by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), offers definitive evidence that even the highest exposure levels of BPA from canned foods and beverages did not lead to detectable amounts in the human blood stream," said NAMPA. "The EPA-funded study emphatically showed there is not a health risk from BPA exposure in canned foods because of how the body processes and eliminates the compound from the body, in children as well as adults," said NAMPA chairman Dr. John M. Rost in the press release. Read more on The Atlantic. _____________________________ Elizabeth Grossman is the author of Chasing Molecules: Poisonous Products, Human Health, and the Promise of Green Chemistry, High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxics, and Human Health, Watershed: The Undamming of America, and Adventuring Along the Lewis and Clark Trail. Her writing has appeared in Mother Jones, The Nation, Salon, The Washington Post, and other publications. She lives in Portland, Oregon.